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Church Window Gallery

University City Church Repairs

In November 2013, University City Church suffered a massive fire that spread throughout the church requiring an Eight Million dollar renovation.

Fifty four stained glass windows were damaged: not just blackened from flames but broken out or cracked from the heat. The church, through its restoration contractors, tried in vain to find an artist who was able to repair the windows in situ. All previous artists wanted to remove each window, take it to their studio, repair it then return and reinstall it.

I received a call from the project manager and I was willing to repair the windows while still in place. It is tricky to work on the horizontal but it is possible.

By this time the stained glass window repair was on a short deadline so the repair and restoration of the windows had to be performed quickly – within two months!

Through months of intricate repairs and several total replacements, the windows could again withstand the weather, again demonstrating their beauty. I can’t say their original beauty because the extensive repairs showed the lines of soldering but they again looked beautiful and protected the interior of the church from dust and rain as well as bringing the solace of color and liturgical splendor into the interior.

The work on the high windows entailed climbing up two stories onto the scaffolding and working there.  Other windows were repaired from the floor and the tops of the highest windows were repaired from a false floor provided by the reconstruction contractors. They were helpful and a pleasure to work with.

At the far end of the stripped sanctuary, my pink vest is visible as I am working on the lower portion of one of the two story windows.

The bathroom had to be re-plumbed blocking the window. The window
had to be quickly repaired due to construction re-scheduling. After the
repairs were made the wall was covered up with sheet rock but was still
visible from the outside.

The bathroom had to be re-plumbed blocking the window. The window was quickly repaired then covered up on the inside but still visible from the outside.

This shows the tops of the windows I was working on in the photo when I was on the scaffolding in my pink vest. It was winter in Arizona, the desert does get chilly and sometimes downright cold. There was no heat in the church during this time. This false floor was temporarily installed to allow all the workmen and one artist, with a couple helpers, to repair all the fire damage near the ceiling and in the attic.

Holding the panel in place with tape while the adhesive sets up.

The false flooring can be seen above.

Some of the equipment used to repairing on site. It’s a very different set of circumstances than repairing on the horizontal even though the equipment is typically the same.

Intricate and time consuming multiple repairs on each window.

The false flooring can be seen above.

Many small repairs to the base of the two story windows, trying to stabilize the taller windows until they could be pulled out with a derrick and afforded total restoration.

On the first floor.

Before the scaffolding was placed under the taller windows. The Restoration Contractors followed my exact request for how many feet below the windows the scaffolding needed to be placed in order for me to work on the lower section of the windows. They were professional, knowledgeable and agreeable to work with. I was fortunate to be working with these contractors.