On Monday June 8th 2015 we began to MOB heavy equipment into Los Alamos, NM and began our preparation to demolish The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. As someone who is avid about history, specifically military history, this town is very interesting and fun.
The current building dates to the Manhattan Project, when it was built as one of two temporary dormitories separated by Tulip Street, which no longer exists. Church archives reveal a letter dated February of 1959 from the Zia Corporation regarding the renewal of the congregation’s lease on the building that stated, “Consideration must be given to the fact that this building is a temporary war-time structure of the type being removed from the permanent townsite area as rapidly as possible and that it cannot remain on location indefinitely.”
After purchasing the building, the congregation made extensive renovations, including removing part of the second floor to create the sanctuary and adding the solarium at the main entrance. The size and condition of the aging structure has been at issue for several decades, and the congregation voted in 2008 to actively pursue building a new church.
Some artifacts from the building will be salvaged by the Los Alamos Historical Society for inclusion in their archives, and other materials will be donated to the Habitat ReStore before asbestos abatement and demolition begin.
The new building, designed by Mullen|Heller Architecture, will be built on the site of the current church, located on North Sage Street between the Latter-Day Saints and the Masonic Lodge. It is scheduled for completion by March 1, 2016.
Mullen|Heller Architecture also designed the new PEEC Nature Center building and the White Rock Visitors Center. Hart Construction submitted the winning bid as the General Contractors for the project, which will have a total cost of $3.45 million. The congregation has raised more than $2.8 million in pledges, and fundraising is ongoing.