Hope, faith and insurance not yet enough
|||Oct. 15 quakes' fury lingers on Big Island|
By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau
By Kevin Dayton
The dramatic pictures of the crumbled stone walls of Kalahikiola Congregational Church in North Kohala are probably the most recognizable images from the Oct. 15 earthquakes, and Pastor George Baybrook said there was outpouring of support from businesses, former parishioners and strangers who wanted to help restore the building.
The church has spent about $35,000 to shore up the roof and is planning a restoration that could cost about $2 million. Donations covered the insurance deductible of almost $60,000, and the insurance is expected to pay a bit more than $1 million of the restoration cost, he said.
The church was built 151 years ago out of river rock and is regarded as one of the classic stone churches in Hawai'i.
Baybrook guessed putting the collapsed stones back and also complying with today's building code would cost $3 million or $4 million.
For a congregation of fewer than 100 people, it's unclear how that can be accomplished.
Even a limited restoration effort that uses modern-day building materials to improve the structural integrity of the building while restoring its outward appearance might require major fundraising, he said.
Since the church is on the state and federal registries of historic places, no one is sure what historic restoration requirements may apply. Church leaders are still waiting to hear more specifics from the architect and engineer, Baybrook said.
Before Oct. 15, Baybrook said the 70 or so members who came to services would be scattered among pews in a huge church that could seat 500. Now that the church is unsafe, members gather for services in the smaller fellowship hall on the same property.
"It's really pulled us together, and people are coming to church who haven't come for a while," he said.
Reach Kevin Dayton at email@example.com.