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Construction issues again delay St. Paul’s Church opening


County officials' final inspection of the new St. Paul's Church, currently nearing completion on Flamevine Lane, was postponed last Friday because of construction issues that still need to be addressed.

According to Scott McAdam, a county building official, the most serious problem was the operational failure of smoke detectors in the church's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ducts.

"In HVAC systems of that size, the building code requires detectors in the ducts so that, if there's a fire, the sensors detect the smoke and shut off the unit," McAdam said. "You don't want to blow smoke through the vents and into the building.

"The Fire Department inspected the system on Dec. 21, and it failed the smoke test. Apparently, the detectors didn't go off."

A fire official also found, while inspecting the alarm system, that attic-access ladders weren't "fire rated," McAdam said. In addition, the church hadn't yet submitted the necessary proof of a termite inspection, he said.

McAdam said the county cannot issue a Certificate of Occupancy until the building passes all the required inspections.

"There are still a few things that need to be done on the CO checklist," McAdam said. "They still need to pass inspections, and there's still stuff they need to get done before we can inspect it.

St. Paul's Rector Jon Robbins described the inspection setbacks as "just normal construction stuff" and said he anticipated county officials would issue a CO for the new building next week.

"We're looking at getting the CO around Jan. 15 and, barring any unforeseen issues, holding our first services in the new church on Jan. 21," Robbins said. "We're also planning to have a consecration of the building – kind of a grand opening – on Feb. 18."

Robbins said Bishop Ron Kuykendall of St. Andrew's Church in Gainesville will attend the consecration, a service during which the building will be sanctified and dedicated for use as a church.

"We're very excited to serve the village beach community," Robbins said, "and we're grateful for everyone's patience during construction."