FBC plans structure replacement, A/C fix

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Out with the old, in with the new is what First Baptist Churchofficials hope to do with its church steeple.

The original steeple was installed in 1972, said church memberMillard Smith, and hasn’t been removed since it was put intoplace.

Church Administrator Joe Davis said the current steeple hadshifted four inches and had sustained damage when Hurricane Katrinablew through the area in August 2005.

“We’ve made temporary repairs,” said Davis, but he indicated amore permanent fix was needed.

The church was also experiencing some water leakage, which wascoming from a faulty air-conditioning coil, Davis explained. Thecoil, which is located inside the steeple, is 9-feet-by-9-feet wideand 6-feet tall.

“The only way to get it out is through the steeple,” Davissaid.

Barnhart Crane and Rigging, of Jackson, brought out a heavy-dutycrane to remove the steeple Monday morning. The activity promptedmany bystanders to stop and watch the progress.

The steeple, which was held in place by a metal structureunderneath, was originally installed by Paul Jackson Sr., Smithsaid.

Jackson was on hand yesterday while the steeple was being takendown. He said the original steeple was put into place beforechemically processed wood was readily available.

“No treated wood was available when it was put up and that’s whyit’s leaking,” Jackson said.

Paul Jackson and Son general contractors is also working on thecurrent job, which includes taking down all of the wood structureto where the bricks begin.

Once the old steeple is down and measurements made, a new custommade steeple will be ordered, Davis said. He estimated the entirejob will cost the church over $250,000.

“We hope to have it repaired in six to 10 weeks,” Davissaid.

While the steeple is removed, the top of church will be sealed,Davis explained. Plans for the old steeple are uncertain, Davissaid Monday.