Thursday, August 19, 2010

Volunteers Work On San Miguel

By John Severance

SOCORRO -- Father Andy Pavlak likened it to exploratory surgery. And he didn’t like what was found.
Adobe specialist Antonio Martinez of Santa Fe was in town to inspect the walls of the San Miguel Church in Socorro, and the news was not good.
“We thought the north wall was going to be worse off than the south wall,” Pavlak said Tuesday. “But it was a lot worse in the south wall. There was a lot of adobe deterioration.
“What we can tell now that on the interior south wall from the back door to 20 feet in,, there is moisture damage and there also is a six inch concrete wall, poured in the 1970s. What’s probably in between there might be nothing, we don’t know.
“Further down, the south wall, there are some stacked red bricks inside the wall and there is a lot of water damage and on the floor underneath, it has rotted to nothing.
“On the north wall, there is a lot of moisture damage.”
So this past weekend, with the adobe specialist directing, cuts were made in various walls to let the adobe breathe and dry out. Pavlak said it takes several years for the bricks to dry out.
Dozens of San Miguel parishioners worked as laborers and they spent their time, making the cuts in the walls, cutting out carpet and moving pews.
The carpet was removed so the old wooden floor could be exposed and so workers could make floor vents.
“We are just waiting,” Pavlak said. “We have to see if any horizontal cracks surface. If that happens, that means the structural integrity may have been lost.”
The church will be closed for the next four weeks. But Sunday Mass will be held in the Parish Hall and daily mass will be held in the Guadalupe Chapel until further notice.
“After four weeks, we hope to get back in there and see what we have,” Pavlak said. “After making the cuts, we can see where we are at.”

Photos by John Larson

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