Church looks to UWP for historical restoration

April 7, 2003

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2003_04_07.jpgPLATTEVILLE - Originally built in 1896, St. John's Church in Muscoda looked to UW-Platteville's senior design class for aid in restoration design. Parish President Marty Blankenship has been working with three UWP students to stop further deterioration of the base plates and to elevate the settling of the structure while maintaining the use of the church.

Each majoring in civil engineering, the three-person team includes Mike Brenner, a senior from Durand with an emphasis in geotechnical engineering; Jeremy May, a senior from Evansville with an emphasis in structural and geotechnical engineering; and Craig Hindal, a senior from Sheldon with an emphasis in construction, transportation and geotechnical engineering.

The team's role in the project is to analyze the flooring system to determine its adequacy. Upon doing so the team will propose to the church leaders the various solutions for improvement or the option to take no further action.

Thus far the team has analyzed the drainage system, taken photos of the deteriorating structures and measured the structural capacities of the current joist system. Solutions to the project must be economically sound for the church while keeping the church useful during construction. Throughout research and measurements the team has meet twice with Blankenship to discuss the scope of the project.

The team's next step involves a progress meeting with the church board members to discuss a full report based on their analysis. The proposals reported will include leaving the church as is and designing a new foundation to hold the floor system.

Throughout the project the team has met challenges in determining the effects that rotting has had on the structural support systems. Locating the actual problem of the deteriorated sill plates and rotting floorboards has also posed a challenge.

So far the project has taught the team the steps involved in a rehabilitation type project. They have learned the thought processes needed to search for the problem in order to determine a solution while maintaining historical preservation and usage.

The team feels well-prepared to complete its project. Numerous written reports inside and outside of lab assignments have provided the team with writing experience, structures and foundations classes have given the team background knowledge and individual work experiences from each team member have supplied adequate resources and skills to the project.

The team has enjoyed working on the project and the challenges of approaching a final solution with the church's economical best interest in mind while providing practical solutions.

Each of the three team members will be graduating this May. Brenner has accepted a commercial development position working with R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc., in Brookfield. Following graduation, Hindal will be working for Northeast Asphalt, Inc., out of Ladysmith. May is currently interviewing and seeking a position for future employment.

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