A Remarkable Accomplishment for Costa Rica
“YOU are doing what we’ve only studied about!” remarked an architectural engineer who had come to see the new branch being put up seven miles (11 km) outside of San José, Costa Rica.
What was so remarkable about these buildings? They were built with the tilt-up method—a first in Costa Rica. The foundation and pillars were built first. Then, right on the site, concrete sections of the walls were cast one on top of another in stacks. These precast wall sections were then tilted up and lifted by a crane and welded into their proper places. Finally, the roof went on, and all that remained to be done was the finishing details.
This project was also the Watch Tower Society’s first attempt to construct a building by the tilt-up method outside the United States. For this reason, personnel from other branches that are planning to build or expand were on hand to observe how the process worked. Present, too, were engineers and architects from other concerns. All were impressed by what they saw.
The buildings were done in the handsome Spanish-colonial style, with red tile roof and arching windows. The driveway around a circular garden leads to the main entrance and lobby. To the right is the two-story, 24-room residence building with a large family room that contains the library, study areas, and an attractive fireplace. Connected to this is a 100-seat dining room, and a modern kitchen and laundry. Across the courtyard is the office building with 13 individual offices and a conference room laid out around an open-air tropical garden under a skylight. The large building to the left is the warehouse for storing literature and other supplies.
Everyone who had come to visit marveled at what he saw. Heard over and over again were comments like: “What quality work!” “Never have I seen anything as beautiful as this!” “This is obviously a labor of love.”
Indeed, all of this was made possible by “a labor of love.” Over 4,700 brothers and sisters, including 295 from other lands, labored for 24 months on the project. Much of the equipment and material was made on site. For example, at an early stage a two-story hoist, affectionately known by the brothers as Julio, was built. Cement mixers known as Bertha and Martha were purchased and overhauled for the project. Lamps, lighting fixtures, wrought-iron grillwork, Palladian marble steps and landings, and so on, were all made by brothers who have had no particular experience in these areas. “The enthusiasm for the project on the part of the brothers from this country was remarkable,” declared the project supervisor.
The height of enthusiasm was manifested on January 4, 1987, when a crowd of 13,111 came for the dedication. The balcony on the north side of the family room was used as a stage and the crowd gathered on the spacious grounds below. Brothers M. G. Henschel and L. A. Swingle of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses were the principal speakers on the program. Brother Swingle’s enthusiastic talk was on the theme “Jehovah Keeps Making It Grow,” and in the dedication talk, Brother Henschel helped all to appreciate that a beautiful building is useful to Jehovah’s people only if they continue to produce the fruitage of his spirit.
Brought together for this special occasion were members of the first Gilead missionary family in Costa Rica. Now well along in years, they were deeply moved by this reunion and by the visible evidence of Jehovah’s rich blessing on the Kingdom-preaching work in Costa Rica over the years. With the marvelous provision of such a spacious, comfortable, and efficient home, all present were confident that Jehovah’s name will be further magnified in this tropical land.
[Pictures on page 31]
A precast wall section being tilted up . . . and set in place
Circular driveway leads up to Spanish-colonial-style building
Part of the enthusiastic crowd on dedication day