August 25, 2014 marked the culmination of 10 months of Wagner Roofing working closely with the parish of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington MD to replace their steeple. The original 1962 steeple collapsed and fell onto the church roof from the 70’ high bell tower during the devastating derecho storm of June 29, 2012.
Wagner worked with the Church’s insurer to establish an upgraded replacement scope of work. Wagner hired a structural engineer to perform a complete existing condition survey of the bell tower and develop schematic and construction drawings for the project. Copper Craft of Grapevine TX was enlisted as the steeple manufacturer that designed and fabricated the new spire and cross. A local steel erector was subcontracted to install new support steel and set the 34’ main spire and 8’ cross atop the existing bell tower.
Coincidentally, the installation happened to coincide with the first day of school for Holy Redeemer’s 430 students and their parents. All children were given the opportunity to touch the new cross as it lay on the lawn prior to being hoisted 100’ into the air to be set atop the steeple where it will retake its position as the neighborhood landmark. Father Mark Hughes said “What a great opportunity for these kids to be able to drive by here years from now and point out to their kids the cross, noting that they touched it before it went all the way up there where no one else will ever touch it.”
Wagner will complete installation of a copper standing seam roof tying the steeple into the bell tower roof prior to dismantling the scaffolding and returning the site back to the church to enjoy for years to come.
Former steeple toppled by 2012 derecho
By Chris Gordon
Two years after a famously violent storm ripped the steeple off a Maryland church, that church is complete.
After Mass Monday morning on the first day of school at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, 430 students were taken outside for a unique honor. They got to touch the 34-foot cross replacing the steeple toppled by the high winds during the June 2012 derecho.
“No other people will ever touch it,” Father Mark Hughes said. “And they’re in an exclusive club. It’s the final moment for the excitement of getting our steeple back.”
Placing the new steeple above the 90-foot restored bell tower was a slow, precise process. The cross was lifted into place late Monday afternoon with a crane, and a construction crew is making sure it is installed to withstand the test of time and weather.