Congregation: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, OH
Contractor: Brock Builders, Inc.; Boardman, OH
Type: Demolition and preservation construction
Space: Church steeple
Church website with links to articles and videos of the steeple removal
What to do when pieces of your 88 year-old church steeple blow off due to disrepair? First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown has been wrestling with that question for some time now. The decision to remove the steeple has been made, and the work is complete, but now the congregation needs to decide whether to restore the steeple or do something different on the roof.
I appreciate that this congregation had the clarity of thinking to remove the steeple without having made a firm decision about what to do next. Construction can only be completed one step at a time, anyway. I often remind myself that we don’t need to do everything at once, that we can make a small change, get used to it, and take time to think about what comes next.
I also appreciate what must surely be difficult decisions. I love historic old buildings, but boy, they cost a lot to maintain! I’ve admired many a church steeple without ever considering how they are maintained. Considering “how will we maintain this facility?” must be part of any design process.