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Cathedral Restoration Project - Restoration Project Begins

Restoration Project Begins

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Long-needed repairs and restoration of Christ Church Cathedral’s historic structures and grounds commenced after Pentecost Sunday.

“We are able to move forward with these necessary and urgent building projects through the incredible generosity of the Cathedral community and the dollars pledged to the Sowing the Seed capital campaign,” says Karen Kraycirik, minister for community life and stewardship.

The restoration team includes Stern and Bucek, Architects; W.S. Bellows Construction, general contractor; Bob Brooks, project manager and owner’s representative; Johnny Steele, landscape designer, and two committees from the Cathedral: the Building Committee, Guy Hagstette, Chair,Bill Curtis, vice chair, and members Roy Nolen, Ellen Harrison, Beth Wiedower Jackson, Caltea Sandeen, Andre Jackson, and Charles Sanders; and the Buildings and Grounds Committee chaired by the junior warden, Floyd Robinson, The Cathedral’s Chief Operating Officer David Simpson is the cathedral staff point person for the work.

The Cathedral interior will be completed by Rally Day, Aug. 26. The remainder of the work will be finished in the fall. The dean and vestry are resolute about the project’s schedule.

During the restoration, Sunday worship services are being held in the sacred space designed for use in Reynolds Hall; weekday services remain in Golding Chapel.

The restoration addresses a plethora of projects that were determined by an intensive, year-long capital depreciation study.

In all, the restoration project has an estimated $7.95 million budget – an increase over the original $6 million. As is often the case in restoration, additional needed repairs were uncovered during the planning and design effort.


Key components

On the east side of the church and in the organ chamber, tie rods will be installed to shore up the all brick walls. If necessary, affected plaster will also be repaired.

After 30 years of use, the Cathedral HVAC system will be replaced. A more efficient system will not only help control detrimental humidity, but it will also keep things cooler and will be less noisy, Simpson notes. The vestry decided to do this now while the church is closed, he says, rather than later.

With all the church pews and kneelers removed and stored, floors in the nave and chancel will be refinished. Additionally, the plaster walls will be repainted.

In the sacristy and acolyte and server rooms, restorations will make the spaces more effective for those who use them. The Altar Guild’s space, for example, has not been updated since 1939, after the notorious fire of 1938 that destroyed the chancel and sacristy.

Significant changes are underway in the sacristy. The dean’s and canons’ sacristies will be moved from downstairs into updated space over Golding Chapel, where previously acolytes and lay ministers vested. The Altar Guild will take over the entirety of the downstairs sacristy area, which will be newly remade for the guild. Acolytes and lay ministers will receive a new vesting area in the connection hall between Reynolds and Latham buildings as part of the restoration.

During the restoration, however, these areas will not be available for use; the clergy will vest in their offices, and lay ministers and acolytes will vest in Sanders Hall. The Altar Guild will be operating out of the Chapel of the Christ Child sacristy.

Meanwhile, the church exterior will be cleaned and, importantly, its bricks repointed where necessary.

In both the Bishop’s Courtyard and Logan’s Garden, new drainage systems and landscaping will be put in place, and brick pavers will be repaired.

Stern and Bucek informed the Building Committee that the magnolia tree in the Bishop’s Courtyard will need to be removed, as the tree is detrimental to the church and would not survive while surrounded by the necessary scaffolding. However, an arborist has taken clippings from the magnolia tree and is in the process of rooting them in the hopes of having small trees available in the future for parishioners. The azaleas in Logan’s Garden will also be rooted in a similar manner; some may also be transplanted to Camp Allen.

The need for some additional repairs became more pronounced during the planning phase, Simpson notes. The “San Jacinto Crack,” also known as the 4-ft. fissure that opened up left of the entrance to the cloister, “just needs to be done.” The structural steel under the brick, which rusted and caused the fissure, will be cleaned, treated, and coated as part of the repair.

Less noticeable to parishioners, but very much in need of attention, is the underground space beneath the sidewalk on Fannin and Prairie, an area dubbed “the vault.” Owned by the Cathedral, the space requires restoration to ensure structural soundness.

While sidewalks and street parking may be in flux during the summer at the Cathedral, the services, community, and fellowship will continue apace. Summer Place will move to the downstairs of Latham Hall, and the Cathedral Bookstore will host stories and song during the 10 o’clock hour for children and their families. Summer programming, such as the Justice and Peace Documentary Night, Compline, and Bridge Lessons, will continue.


Tags: restoration