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The Mission: Reinforcing Old Barracks

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A $300,000 donation of materials and labor from the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California/Orange County chapter is allowing key restoration work to begin on Mission San Juan Capistrano’s 1791 soldiers’ barracks.

“This is the missing link in our preservation work,” said architect and project manager John Loomis, of Thirtieth Street Architects in Newport Beach. “Once complete, all of the mission’s original buildings will have been stabilized.”

For the past three years, volunteers have been restoring the outside of the barracks’ adobe bricks during the mission’s springtime Mudslinging Festival.

The new work includes replacing crumbling wood roof shingles with a clay tiles, originally used, strengthening walls to meet seismic codes, repairing door and window frames and water proofing to protect materials from the rain.

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The nonprofit building association includes about 1,000 member companies, which employ more than 50,000 people in the construction industry.

Between four and six Spanish soldiers lived in the barracks, their mission to protect the mission’s padres. The building’s adobe walls and wood roof have deteriorated steadily, so that today visitors are barred from entering for safety reasons. They can only peer in the small doorway to see a display depicting the lifestyle of Spanish soldiers.

Once restoration is complete, the barracks will include an expanded display, museum exhibits and a community meeting area, according to mission officials.

The mission has two other major restoration projects underway: a $6-million effort to preserve the ruins of the Great Stone Church and a $465,000 plan to fix the sagging campanario, or bell wall.

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