AZC Building and Grounds: Repairs & Maintenance Updates

Taking Great Care of our Temple: Updates on Repairs & Maintenance of our Building & Grounds

September 1, 2020 – Grounds Update and a Request, from Sherry Mason

Here is a brief update about what is happening with the bamboo situation.  First off, very few sprouts are coming up.  I only saw one yesterday!  The preliminary trench is about 75% complete.  You will recall this is needed to stop our bamboo rhizomes from getting nourishment from the neighbors’ bamboo stands.  Thank you Bill for almost single-handedly digging the back portion of the trench!  The remaining 15 feet or so extends along the east side of the yard to the back of the garage. Hopefully we can get this dug within the next few weeks.  In the fall we can then deepen the trench and install a bamboo barrier.  Renting a mechanical trench digger could be a possibility.  When the city did the land survey at the end of July, no utilities or other underground hazards were noted in our digging zone. (photo shows back portion of trench)
Undoubtedly you are aware that Austin has been in drought conditions for most of the summer.  The lack of rain and extreme heat have stressed many of AZC’s established shrubs and trees.  While having an automatic sprinkler system would be ideal, the alternative could simply be AZC members volunteering to water assigned areas during periods of prolonged drought.  Perhaps someone has ideas about organizing this?

Plumbing Update: the new plumbing finally passed inspection yesterday!  The water pressure and heat getting to the second floor seems very much improved.  For various reasons we had to wait for the inspection before beginning the finishing work of repairing drywall and tile, and Jacob will be around later this week to do all that. – Tim


August 12, 2020 – Message from AZC Director

The building is again alive with activity as we undertake another update to our facilities.  Last week work began to replace nearly all the plumbing in our beloved (and aging) building.  Many if not most of the current pipes appear to be original to the building, which was constructed in 1910(?) !  The problems have been obvious in the past few years – a number of sudden leaks and a lack of hot water reaching the second floor, where the residents’ shower is.  There had been hope that the new hot water heater might alleviate the second issue, and it has a little, but it’s become clear we need a more thorough overhaul.  Many thanks to the many generous donors who’s giving allows us to take care of this space.  And a special thanks to Jacob Bramlett who has offered his time in support of this project, and who will be taking care of patching the holes in the walls left by the plumbers.  We’ll be sure to update you all once the work is completed.  Stay tuned!

Can you guess the locations of the following photos?

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June 29, 2020 – Message from AZC Director

Even though our buildings have been closed to the public for a while now, there’s still so much happening in and around AZC.  It’s been lovely to see so many gardeners and bamboo project volunteers quietly appear, and take care of this shared space outdoors.  Many thanks to Sherry, and Rich, in particular, who’s near daily care of our grounds and space buoy us with a sense of normalcy, of everydayness.  

After a very successful fund raising drive, spurred on by donor matches, we were able to complete the installation of both a new air conditioning unit, and a new hot water heater.  Installation and inspections took about a week, and there were a number of people here working.  We took great care with our precautions, doing our best to keep both workers and residents safe.

As some of you may have heard, just this past week, we had a pinhole leak in the second floor bathroom pipes. Thankfully it was discovered early on and ended up being a fairly easy (albeit emergency) short term fix. Unfortunately, water had already dripped down into the first floor hallway and the basement below.  This is at least the third time we’ve seen leaks in this area of the building.  So, up next in our immediate needs for repair is some work on the internal plumbing.  Currently, even with the new hot water heater, very little (if any) hot water is reaching the second floor shower that the residents use.  Ultimately a complete overhaul of our aging plumbing has been recommended.  

We received a number of bids for various levels of replacement (everything from replacing all of it, inside and out, to just certain areas of the building most in need, like the second floor residents’ bathroom).  Jacob Bramlett has been really generous with his time and expertise around all of these plumbing issues (from doing some of the small work himself, to advising and monitoring the process of getting bids and organizing the work).  Thank you, Jacob.

The board is considering the fullest scope that is recommended at this time.  There are ongoing discussions about how much to take on now and how plan for and budget for future plumbing updates needed.  Stay tuned as we move forward!


May 25, 2020 – Update on AZC’s new Air Conditioning & Water Heater!

Thank you to all those who made generous contributions to our matching gift campaign. So far 27 people have donated a total of $6058 (each between $25-$1200) out of the $8000 total matching gift, and our board gave the go-ahead to begin the repairs needed for our failing air conditioning (2nd floor first, then 1st floor later) & water heater. These essential repairs will benefit the residents immediately, and our entire Sangha once we re-open.

April 22, 2020 – Beyond our Earth Day Ceremony

Help us create a more sustainable, greener Austin Zen Center!

AZC currently has an *urgent* need to replace both our tankless water heater and at least one A/C unit, both of which are over 20 years old and failing. Thankfully, we have a donor who is matching funds up to $8000; please consider helping us reach our goal of maintaining the temple in a sustainable and Earth-friendly way by DONATING today. Any amount will be greatly appreciated!