ROSSIA is very pleased to announce the award of a Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant to help stabilize the Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, one of Alaska’s most visited National Historic Landmarks.
In 2007, ROSSIA supported the Holy Assumption parish with a $2,500 mini grant to hire a contractor to investigate the noticeable outward bow on the north and south walls of the nave. This mini grant was instrumental in developing a plan of action and applying for the SAT grant.
There are four primary threats to the Holy Assumption Orthodox Church which are the focus of this project: 1) deteriorated structural wall logs lacking lateral stability, 2) lack of adequate foundation and seismic reinforcing, 3) lack of an accessible ramp at the entry and, 4) absence of fire and theft alarm system.
On March 27, 2008, a contractor removed exterior siding from the north wall of the church to reveal what lay beneath. Once exposed, it became clear that the original wall logs had deteriorated over time due to moisture infiltration from roof runoff and wind driven rain. Previous attempts to arrest the outward bow were uncovered as were dimensional lumber patches replacing deteriorated wood.
The existing foundation was constructed during a centennial project in the 1970s. An inspection of the foundation on March 27, 2008, revealed that the concrete block stem wall was settling, cracking and lacked any structural connection to the building.
Differential settlement of the perimeter wall and intermittent piers is revealed through sloping floors and cracking sheetrock. Kenai, Alaska, is a Zone 4 seismic area and this church serves an assembly occupancy. The combination of failing wall logs and a discontinuous, unattached foundation pose a serious threat to the inhabitants and the preservation of the building.
Disabled and elderly members of the Holy Assumption parish have specifically requested an accessible ramp to access the church which is currently entered by way of a covered porch accessed by two steps.
Fire and Theft Alarm
The Holy Assumption Orthodox Church is the most in tact representative of the Russian Orthodox churches in the State of Alaska. The building and related historic icons dating to 1700 are irreplaceable and are at risk to fire and/or theft. Currently, the church does not have a fire or theft detection or alarm system which poses a serious threat to this National Historic Landmark.
ROSSIA submitted a letter of inquiry to the Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska and has been asked to submit a Tier 2 application. ROSSIA will be applying for a grant in early 2009.
We hope you will consider helping preserve this unique National Historic Landmark in Kenai, Alaska.