Coval pool house roof moved to Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Truss structure will be stored in church parking lot.

Emmanuel Church will store the roof structure in the former Coval house until it can be repurposed for use in the planned Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA).

The pool roof structure of the former Coval mansion, which was preserved for use in the grand lobby of the planned Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA), was moved from a storage facility to the parking lot of Emmanuel Episcopal Church on March 1.

The Coval house is considered a piece of Mercer Island history, and “has been deemed worthy of preservation for the enjoyment of Islanders for generations to come,” according to an email from church officials.

“To that end, the 2015 vestry agreed to lease a portion of Emmanuel’s campus as temporary storage for the roof,” they said.

An extraordinary piece of art and craftsmanship, the truss system is based on a traditional Japanese roof structure known as Shinzuka and is crafted in solid Bubinga wood. The wood was acquired in South Africa, processed in Germany and then kiln dried in Los Angeles. A crew of 10 woodworkers labored for over 18 months to create and install the trusses, which were joined and assembled one piece at a time on site.

The structure, a long, low rectangle approximately 26 feet by 80 feet in size, will be stored on the east end of the south parking lot. MICA has agreed to provide a six-foot high privacy fence surrounding the structure and pay a rental fee of $1,000 per month.

The roof will be stored on church premises for a minimum of three years, with a potential annual renewal for a total of five years.

“In addition to talking with our lawyers, Steve Marshall and Alex Milkie, conversations were held with the city of Mercer Island, Lucia Pirzio-Biroli, (architect for the rectory,) and Rob Philbrick, the lead of the rectory construction team,” church officials wrote. “No objections were voiced, and we were assured that this would not have an adverse effect on the building of the rectory.”

The church also spoke with its tenants — Boy Scout Troop 457; Claudia Allard, director of Emmanuel Day School; Cathy Jankovich, director of Patti’s Play Center and Manuel Cawaling, director of Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) — and all were supportive. Vestry members also canvassed neighbors, who didn’t have objections and were appreciative of the church’s efforts to be open and informative.

YTN also hopes to relocate to MICA when it is built. The performing arts facility is planned for a corner of Mercerdale Park, the site of the former recycling center. MICA must complete an environmental review before it can sign a lease with the city, and raise about $25 million in its capital campaign before it can begin construction.

The opportunity “serves the wider Mercer Island community and provides additional income to Emmanuel’s ministry budget,” according to the email. The motion to proceed passed with vestry approval by a super majority.


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