HIGHGATE — Workers excavating the floor of Highgate’s firehouse found a surprise last week – a hole containing the remains of a church.

The selectboard provided the public with an update on the firehouse project Thursday night and discussed whether or not to accept federal grant money for stabilizing 300 feet of slope on Machia Road.

“The concrete is all up out of the fire department floor,” Sharon Bousquet, chair of the board, informed the audience. “We did find the entire church foundation in there unfortunately.”

“There was probably enough bricks in there to furnish one for everybody in Highgate,” said Steve LaFar, a board member, laughing. He said it looked as if the entire church was knocked down into the hole.

There were a few other surprises when the concrete was pulled up, according to vice chair Joshua LaRocque. “There was no rebar in that floor,” he said. “There was just mesh and the mesh sank right down to the bottom.”

LaRocque added the concrete was poured unevenly. “In some areas, the concrete was only three inches [thick],” he said, compared to eight inches elsewhere.

Bousquet said the concrete cutting is complete. “Mr. Rollo is currently bringing sand back in and doing the compacting,” she said, referring to Douglas A Rollo Excavating.

For more on this, as well as the future of Machia Road, pick up a copy of Monday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.