Absence of Scaffolding Exposes Progress

Jun 10, 2010
by the Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director
The scaffolding came down, and we chose bold finishing colors … two sure signs that construction at the Port Newark International Seafarers' Center moves toward an August opening. The construction project renovates the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) building used to welcome seafarers in the largest container port in the eastern United States.
For nearly three years, construction scaffolding enabled workers access to our facility’s ceilings—but at the cost of obliterating the view of the central three-story atrium so distinctive to the space. In recent days, that changed. We regained an inspiring view of our second- and third-floors where we offer seafarer hospitality, communication, a chapel, recreation and—on the third floor—offices for SCI staff.
In another sign of light at the end of the tunnel, our architects walked us through finishing color choices, including paint samples, floor finishes, and ceramic tiles that give any space its distinctive look and feel. Ours will take its color cues from the container ships entering Port Newark—a wonderful combination of bold blue, red, orange, and yellow with a soft white to pull it together. 
This week, SCI’s Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) Director Douglas Stevenson visited his future accommodations on the facility's third floor, a space with equally great external views to ships at dock and internal views of seafarers entering our center. In the renovated building, CSR staff and interns will work closely to the action of port life, visiting ships, talking with seafarers in need of assistance, and connecting with chaplains and seafarers around the globe.
Our roof and its extensive mechanical systems are now complete, as are HVAC and related systems. Soon, workers will focus on floors, restrooms, safety railings and exterior site work. Stay tuned.