McWilliams house awarded Diocese grant

The Colorado State Historical Fund of the state historical society has awarded a $170,700 grant to Grace and St. Stephen’s Church for preservation of McWilliams House, which houses the church offices.

The grant money will augment $114,468 the church is contributing toward the project, said Mark Stritzel, chair of the McWilliams House Rehabilitation Committee, and owner of Stritzel Construction Management Co.

Grace and St. Stephen’s, the first Episcopal church in the Colorado Springs area of the Denver-based Diocese of Colorado, requested assistance for stabilization and rehabilitation of the building’s exterior.

The work is expected to begin in the summer of 2010 and to be completed by late October.

Without immediate attention, the building would have been in jeopardy of permanently losing historic character-defining features such as its porches, wood siding and other decorative elements, the Diocese said in a statement.

The building’s status as a “significant historical landmark” began with construction during 1899 for local grocers, Mr. and Mrs. George Bernard, at a reported cost of $40,000, considered expensive at the time.

In addition to serving as a church administrative center, McWilliams House also provides practice and performance space for the Opera Theater of the Rockies, the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stritzel Construction will begin work on the renovation project this summer. The project is expected to be completed during October.