Chapel – The chapel building was constructed in 1952. The building is a 1 storey wood frame structure with a small rear balcony. The building was constructed on a concrete slab foundation. Much of the building has been upgraded since 2002 and it has received a good standard of maintenance since. The building was constructed using good quality materials and workmanship for the day. Attached to the chapel is a Sacristy room for preparation and storage of items and includes extensive cabinetry. The Maronite monks installed hot water in floor radiant heating in the chapel during their tenure at the monastery. The chapel area has exposed brick walls and wood cathedral ceilings and the overall condition of this structure is quite satisfactory.
Retreat House – This building consists of a masonry exterior frame with wood frame floors.The perimeter walls and roof structure of the retreat house were remediated by the Maronite monks. The brickwork was repointed where necessary and new windows and doors were installed. The building was constructed using good quality materials and workmanship for the day but the building is now exhibiting signs of deferred maintenance. The building exhibits a generally functional layout for its intended purpose but is very under utilized at present.
The interior of the retreat house is showing its age, particularly in sections of the right wing of the building which have been isolated and not used for several decades. Plumbing fixtures, electrical service lines and furnishings would need to be upgraded before this area could be returned to functional use. The left wing of the building is in fair condition but problems with the heating system have restricted the use of this wing to the fair weather months of the year.
Heating System – The most pressing mechanical need at this time is for elimination of the inefficient wood fired furnace which after years of use is in a very deteriorated condition. A local engineering firm has recommended removal of the wood furnace and replacement with two propane fired boilers to supply the hot water heat distribution systems serving the retreat house and chapel. The utilization of two boilers would create a heating system that could be scaled up or down depending on the season and the areas of the monastery in use. There are five isolated heating zones each controlled with shut off valves and independent circulating pumps. Although propane is more expensive than oil by volume, it produces heat more efficiently and with less carbon dioxide emission. Local engineers have identified the removal of the wood furnace and the installation of replacement boilers as the number one mechanical priority. A quote for the supply and installation of two propane fired boilers in the spring of 2019 has been received.
The Augustinian Nuns are resigned to living in a small area of the monastery this winter using a combination of heat pumps and space heaters with a back up diesel fired generator for use when there is no power. A small make shift chapel has been prepared for celebration of Mass by visiting priests.
To keep the heating system pipes in the retreat house and chapel from freezing and bursting over the winter months, local engineers have recommended that the circulating pumps remain in service to maintain a continuous flow of cold water throughout the closed loop heating system
An engineering review of electrical, ventilation, water and sewer services is ongoing and recommended upgrades to these systems will be pursued as financial resources permit.