WILMINGTON — Drivers on Interstate 95 in Wilmington — and others — may have noticed that one of the most prominent buildings along the highway is getting a facelift this winter.
The roof of St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington is getting replaced, thanks to a successful capital campaign. That will put an end to the leaks that have caused resultant damage inside the church. Those will be repaired once the roof is done. In addition, the steeple is being repointed above the roof line, said Father John Olson, the pastor.
When Father Olson arrived at the parish in September 2020, he saw that the church has a painting of the Last Supper on the ceiling, but he also noticed that the nearby plaster was water-damaged. There have been about 12 leaks since.
“We believe that the roof was laid in 1945,” he said. “We determined that we need a new roof.”
The roof project was estimated to cost $500,000, and the parish raised that amount through a capital campaign that included individual donations, gifts from other parishes, and grants from several foundations, according to a notice in a recent church bulletin. Father Olson said the parish decided to keep the campaign going to about $700,000 to have money on hand for unanticipated costs and a maintenance fund.
According to a notice in the bulletin, the boilers and air-conditioning systems are old and will likely need replacing in the next two to three years. The carpets and pews also need either maintenance, repair or replacement, the notice said.
This project was not a hard sell to parishioners, he continued. When he arrived, a parishioner approached him about getting it fixed. The scaffolding started to go up in September, but the work has not disrupted any Masses or other parish activities.
“Life at the parish has continued as normal,” Father Olson said.
The replacement roofing will be the same material as that it is replacing, Spanish-Style terra cotta clay tiles.
“It is kind of an icon sitting there right next to 95,” Father Olson said.