Even with the fine (and distracting) weather this past week, it’s hard not to notice the work now taking place around Old Chapel. Some may be wondering what this project is all about.
The short explanation is that we are staving off mold growth in Old Chapel, and that we’re repairing the walls so that moisture can’t enter the building. Moisture creates the conditions for mold growth.
The back story is that since Old Chapel was renovated 15 or 16 years ago, the mortar holding together the stonework has deteriorated as condensation—perhaps caused by air conditioning—has worked its way into the walls, eroding the mortar. The eroded mortar has in turn made it easier for moisture to come through the walls, especially on the first floor where the offices are below grade. Also, as the photo below suggests, the original 19th-century foundation was constructed to hold up the building, not keep it airtight. So it’s not surprising that moisture has seeped through the walls.
But conditions will be much improved after the mortar has been repaired. The contractors engaged on this project, Liszt Historical Restoration, did a great job renovating Starr Library for the Axinn Center and they specialize in detective work like this.
You can expect to see this work continue through the fall.