First United Church
In October 2009, an early morning fire claimed the First United Church of Wetaskiwin in downtown Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. The congregation’s building had disappeared, but its spirit and determination had not. The members knew they had to rebuild.
That’s when they contacted George Berry at Berry Architecture & Associates. Shortly thereafter, Berry’s engineer Nick Leshchyshyn started developing working drawings for the new structure.
Leshchyshyn’s drawings called for a 12,486-square-foot building on the same site as the former church. They also specified classrooms, a dining hall, commercial kitchen and conference room in the basement, as well as a sanctuary, kitchenette and administrative wing on the main level.
While reviewing the project’s drawings before they were sent out to bid, however, RedBuilt’s technical sales representative immediately noticed a potential issue: the design called for pitched trusses with a flat bottom. With a span of approximately 62 feet, the combination of the span and slope created a situation where pitched Red-M™ truss geometry limitations were exceeded. RedBuilt’s representative suggested replacing the pitched trusses with Red-M™ scissor trusses that maintained the specified roof pitch, and also opened up the sanctuary space. The unique truss profile allowed for an elevated ceiling, making it an awe-inspiring space, while still keeping the pitched roof – a critical component in the overall design.
Using Red-M™ open-web scissor trusses, however, presented KellerDenali, an Alberta-based construction company and Frank Pring, jobsite superintendent, with a logistical challenge. Because of the truss length, they had to be transported in two pieces and assembled on the ground at the job site before being hoisted into place with a crane. But once again,RedBuilt’s expertise and commitment to service came through.
“We knew there was a potential for logistical obstacles in assembling the trusses onsite,” says Gerard Reinke, KellerDenali’s jobsite coordinator. “But the RedBuilt™ team made sure everything fit the way it was supposed to. The trusses were installed quickly and without unnecessary complications.”
While the building is new, the congregation was able to hold onto pieces of the church’s past. Members salvaged timbers from the old building and transformed them into a cross, which serves as a reminder of what the church has been through.