JOLON — South County residents lend a hand during Community Work Day on Aug. 14 to help with the maintenance of Mission San Antonio De Padua near Jolon. Above, Karyn Planett and Maria Monroy harvest hollyhock seeds in the Padre’s Garden. Below, Geoff Thompson mows the picnic area under the historic oak (originally the Mission orchard area).
For an update on Mission San Antonio’s retrofit and restoration project, see the guest article below by Mission Administrator Joan Steele.
By Joan Steele
Administrator, Mission San Antonio de Padua
In the past three years, we have often referred to the marathon-like aspects of our California state-mandated seismic retrofit/restoration project. The consensus is we are currently about three-fourths of the way along on the marathon — only one-quarter of the way left to cover until we can successfully cross the finish line.
Many of us are tired. Many of us may feel like we’ve hit the wall. Trust me, after years of six- and seven-day work weeks, I am also tired. But this is not the time to give up! The light is now visible in the distance. We have only a short distance left to cover until we reach a successful completion. This is the time that we take a short break, take a deep breath, enjoy a cool drink of water and then get back into the race.
If this were a car race, this would be our ever-important pit stop. If you’re tired of the race, use this pit stop time to reflect on the progress we’ve made and allow that view to re-energize your spirit. Not so very long ago you would have had to look pretty hard to find people who believed that this Mission would ever be successful in meeting the demand of the state-mandated seismic retrofit. Today, we can see the amazing work that’s been completed thus far. This is a success story in the making!
The stabilization of the church, south, west and northwest convento is finished. The electrical upgrade for each of these areas is also completed. The emergency lighting is now in place. A fire alarm system has been added to the church and is monitored 24/7. The ADA code compliance for the church, the south and the west convento is met. The plumbing upgrade of the west retreat wing is done. PG&E has installed the new transformer and pole and the electrical infrastructure upgrade is rapidly approaching completion.
What’s left in the race? We need to proceed with the ADA code compliance in the north convento; this includes both adaptation to existing restrooms/shower rooms and the addition of another ADA compliant bathroom, and some ADA compliant bedrooms. Plumbing upgrades also need to be addressed in that wing. A fire alarm system needs to be installed in the entire retreat center and south convento. The seismic stabilization of the remainder of the facility, beginning at dining rooms, kitchen, etc., moving east needs to begin. The electrical, plumbing, ADA compliancy and fire alarm system for this area also need to be completed. Lastly, the restoration of the Padre’s Garden in the Mission quadrangle will be tackled and the restorative painting in the interior of the church will be attended to.
The good news is that light that is still in the distance is much closer than we originally perceived. Through hard work, dedication to the project, a collaborative spirit, willingness to be flexible and creative in finding solutions to the inevitable challenges of this project, the Project Team has managed to complete a large chunk of this project, and do so, under budget. This translates to financial savings. We are now looking ahead to complete this project for an additional $3 million. That brings the entire project costs to about $10 million to $11 million, equaling a savings of approximately $4 million.
The only way we can realize that savings, however, is to keep moving. If we can’t keep the contractor and the subcontractors engaged, we will lose precious momentum and economy of scale and the project costs escalate. How can you help? Give financially. If you already have, and can give again, please do so. We sincerely appreciate every dollar that comes to the project and will continue to work hard to see that its worth is maximized to the fullest.
An opportunity for everyone, please give of your time and talent — help us get the word out about this worthwhile project. Use your Christmas newsletters, your social media accounts, your time standing in line at the grocery store to tell others about Mission San Antonio and invite them to participate in something historic and amazing — saving a California Mission.
Life outside my office window has grown much quieter in the past month. Progress on the stabilization of Mission San Antonio has dwindled as the funds are rapidly running out. Please, hear my plea and lend a hand. We need to complete the race — we need to save this Mission. Not just for you and me, but for many future generations who deserve to enjoy and experience the history of our state and country at the Mission that time forgot.
This is an amazingly generous and supportive community. I have had been privileged to witness over and over since our family came here from Southern California 15 years ago, the outstanding tradition of our local families joining hands and hearts to help one another. You have done so numerous times to help your Mission. Please join with us once again so that our children, and their children, will have this special historic treasure to enrich their faith and their lives for many more hundreds of years. Thank you.