With most of the foundation walls poured in early July, masons have now been able to begin constructing block walls inside the new lower level. These initial block walls, below grade, serve three purposes:
- Block walls are being added to reinforce existing perimeter walls so they can carry the larger loads required by the new sanctuary (these walls, along the nursery and office wing, are not visible on the construction cam),
- Block walls are being built inside the lower level to reduce spans and share in load bearing (notably an east-west wall that runs across the sanctuary, under the narthex, and
- Block walls are being constructed to create code compliant fire-rated stairwells that will allow children and adults to safely exit the lower level to exterior doors.
The block walls vary in thickness depending on the functional requirement of the specific wall.