Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 by Melissa Kremer
During the 1970’s to the 1990’s, the Dubuque, IA area found itself in an economic downturn, with most factories and businesses closing down or moving. This left the heart of the community, Steeple Square, to eventually close down as well. In 2002, St. Mary’s school closed down, leaving it unattended and to crumble without the care it needed. After the church and school were purchased by Gronen Restoration, they were ready to turn the buildings around and create a strong community once again. Today, the church was turned into an event center, and the school was turned into an apartment complex for the community to enjoy. But before any renovation changes could be made, the was much needed basement care to the former school building.
Due to the school sitting empty for many years, it left the basement to leak, damaging and posing threat to the building’s structure. The untreated dirt basement allowed for moisture to enter in the area, causing the foundation to weaken and leave the structure of the building unsafe. Mold was also a large issue that caused a pungent smell throughout the building. A waterproofing system was in dire need to extend the building’s life. Design specialist, David “Mac” McDaniel of MidAmerica Basement Systems, was contacted.
Mac designed a waterproofing solution to protect the building’s structure, extending the life of the soon-to-be apartment complex. CleanSpace Liner was installed along the foundation walls to act as a moisture barrier for the leaking walls. The liner thickness is comparable to that of a pool liner, making it resistant to tears and punctures, and the liner is infused with an antimicrobial additive that prevents mold growth. WaterGuard was installed around the perimeter of the basement to collect water that seeps in from the walls, and from the ground. The patented drainage system is designed not to clogged, making it very ideal to the dirt basement floor. Once water is collected in the WaterGuard, it is then redirected to a sump pump. Mac suggested that 4 TripleSafe sumps be installed to accommodate for the large amounts of water that could enter and for the size of the building. With a dry basement, moisture can no longer damage the building’s structure, expanding the life of the building. The once old St. Mary’s school, is now the Francis Apartments in Steeple Square, occupied by Opening Doors graduates and the public.