YPG chapel undergoing upgrades inside and out

By James GilbertNovember 1, 2023

A six-month long project to repair some damage that happened to the foundation of the Halo Chapel at U.S. Army Garrison Yuma Proving Ground is coming to an end. Wanting to eventually have more shade in the area, several trees have also been planted along the front and side grounds of the chapel as part of an unrelated beautification project.
A six-month long project to repair some damage that happened to the foundation of the Halo Chapel at U.S. Army Garrison Yuma Proving Ground is coming to an end. Wanting to eventually have more shade in the area, several trees have also been planted along the front and side grounds of the chapel as part of an unrelated beautification project. (Photo Credit: James Gilbert) VIEW ORIGINAL

A six-month long project to repair damage that happened to the chapel at U.S. Army Garrison Yuma Proving Ground is nearing completion.

The project, which is being carried out by a private construction company under the supervision of the Directorate of Public Works, aims to fix the more than 60-year-old chapel’s foundation.

In addition to serving as an inter-faith house of worship, the YPG chapel is a cornerstone of garrison life for the civilians and Soldiers who live on base, and offers various child, youth, and social activities throughout the year.

Chaplain Capt. Ryan Pearse explained that while much of the building’s interior, including the pews and altar are original, the Fellowship Hall is not, and was built as an addition to the chapel in the 1990s.

“All the chapel used to be the was the sanctuary, the hallway and some offices,” Pearse said.

However, a few years ago it was discovered that the Fellowship Hall had slowly been sinking into the ground and pulling away from the chapel’s foundation, which was causing cracks to form, and that something had to be done.

“It needed to be fixed. We don’t really know what happened,” Pearse said.

“Ground squirrels have been blamed partially, a couple of trees needed to be taken down over the years because of their root systems and I have also heard the Fellowship Hall was built on a mini fault line.”

Work to shore up the foundations of both buildings began in June, with tile being laid throughout the hallway and bathrooms of the chapel afterwards. The offices and the nursery received new carpeting as well.

“Relatively speaking, they didn’t have to do a ton of work on the inside,” Pearse said. “Most of the upgrades came on the outside. They have been working all summer and are almost done.”

The project is expected to be completed by mid-November and the chapel has remained open while the work was being done, continuing to hold its normal services and activities.

“Even if there’s a little construction going on around the chapel, we are still open,” Pearse said. “Come visit the chapel and let us know how we can serve you.”

Today, the chapel still has temporary orange mesh fencing along an area in front of the building, which blocks several entry doors, and around back where a parking lot is being installed. A chain link fence has also been erected there.

“It is just to block those areas off. They are still technically construction zones,” Pearse said. “Once they finish all the work and clean up, they will take the fencing down and we will have full accessibility to the exterior again.”

For the most part, almost everything that needed to be done inside the chapel has been completed. All that remains is to lay some tile in the men’s bathroom. Workers were unable to finish the job because they had to order additional tile. As soon as it arrives, they will be able to finish the work.

Part of the contract also included doing some badly needed landscaping, which called for cleaning up the grounds to make it more appealing and watering new grass seeds spread over worn patches of the existing lawn.

Wanting to eventually have more shade in the area, several trees were planted by members of the Environmental Services Division in front of the chapel as part of an unrelated beautification project.

“It’s about improving our foxhole and doing some area beautification,” Pearse said. “Anytime you can have trees, more greenery and shade it is a good thing.”

As for the new side parking lot, an underground tank that was once used to store heating oil that had kept the chapel warm, but now no longer needed, is being dug up and removed so pavement can be placed in the area.