Generous donor provides funds for new roof for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden

Friday, May. 29, 2020
Generous donor provides funds for new roof for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden + Enlarge
Contractors repair the roof of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden. Courtesy photo/Judy Franquelin
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

OGDEN — St. Joseph Catholic Church is getting a new roof thanks to the generosity of a former lifelong parishioner, Wendell Covert, who passed away in September and left his estate to the parish.
The roof has been leaking in several places for years, but the parish could not afford to replace it until it received Covert’s donation, according to pastor Father Michael Scuimbato. 
In recent years, the parish had accepted bids for the project, but shelved the repairs when they found out the cost.
“This has been a long time coming; it became a serious need,” Fr. Scuimbato said. 
When the parish received Covert’s donation, they were ready to get new bids on replacing the roof but faced the problems of the extremely steep pitch of the roof and the presence of electrical lines close to the west side of the building. This meant that scaffolding, rather than a lift, had to be used on the project. Complicating the job was the fact that the church, constructed in 1881, is listed as a historic building. As such, it was required to have a replacement roof as close to the original as feasibly possible.
When contractor Brian Redd of Rodac LLC was selected as the contractor, he found that, upon inspection, four different reroofing systems had been used. 
He also discovered the shingles on the roof over the sanctuary were made of asbestos. These shingles have to be torn out individually by hand, sealed in numbered boxes and then transported to a safe site for disposal. This process takes about 10 times longer than a normal project, Redd said. 
The roof will be redone in Vermont Stonecrest Slate to match the church’s bell tower, which was renovated in 2012.
The project is also a large enough renovation that the city would usually require the building be brought up to code, which would include seismic upgrades. Knowing the parish could never afford to do so, Redd negotiated with the city’s Planning Commission to allow some more limited seismic upgrades.
“This building was unique because it couldn’t be brought up to code because interior work needed to be done to bring it up to seismic code, which would have cost millions of dollars,” Redd said. 
The upgrades involve replacing a wood truss system attached to the gabled side walls with 12-inch galvanized plate steel, which will be attached to the rafters and siding. Understanding that the parish has no funds for those upgrades, Redd is donating the work, which the parish’s finance manager, Judy Franquelin, estimates is valued at more than $200,000.
While the pandemic did not alter the project’s timeline, the shutdown “gave us a little more freedom for the project because the church was more available than it used to be,” Franquelin said.
Work on the project began on April 20 and is expected to be completed before fall. The full cost of the new roof is more than $600,000, of which the bequest from Covert covers about 80 percent. The parish is engaged in fundraising efforts to generate the balance.
“I’m so happy that we can do this project,” Fr. Scuimbato said. “I’m so grateful to this gentleman; we would never have been able to do this without his generosity.”

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