Friday, July 28, 2006

The Old Air Ducts have "Disappeared"

[Click on the photo for a larger version.]

The drywallers have finished painting the walls. Fr. Matt La Chance did an excellent job of overseeing the choice of paint. When dry, the paint is a perfect match for the existing walls.

It is as if the old, rectangular ducts have "disappeared."

The drywall and paint work is done in the south side of the Nave and all along the Apse and Transepts. The only work that remains is the duct work, drywall and paint along the north side of the Nave.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sawdust, Sawdust Everywhere

Three separate crews are working on projects today.

1. Two carpenders are trimming out the stairs that lead from the northen front vestibule to the choir loft. They are using the front steps of the Cathedral as a place to cut the angled pieces of trim to finish the stairs.

2. The first Lift Chair is being installed. This chair is a replacement for the one that leads from the back parking loft to the pew level in the Cathedral. The other chair - the one that descends to the basement - will be installed later.

3. The holes left over from the original air conditioning system are being filled in with drywall and mud. The south side of the nave is complete. Workers will begin on the apse tommorrow. Once the air conditioning ducts are re-routed on the north side of the nave, the old holes will be filled in. The new drywall is unpainted, so it's not entirely pleasant to behold, yet! When the mud dries, it will be painted to match the rest of the walls.

Insensitively-placed Air Ducts

Air conditioning is a good thing. In the 1960s, a parish fund drive collected enough money to install A/C in the Cathedral. Back then, we were fortunate to have air conditioning, so perhaps no one thought much about where to place the ducts.

Our excellent architect, Professor Thomas Gordon Smith, commented that our air conditioning ducts are "insensitively placed." He's right: the ducts could be hidden. He presented a great solution.

His suggestion was to keep the modern convenience of air conditioning, but to hide the ducts so that they don't distract from the beauty of the Cathedral.

The ducts had been placed at the top of each arch in the nave. They were about three or four feet wide, one foot tall, and shiny metal in color. Today, the air conditioning is re-routed through rondells. (No, the rondells are not an all-girl band from the 60s.) The rondells are large plaster disks mounted above the arches in the nave and molded to match the finials of our high altar. The disks are perforated so that cool air can flow out of them.

The rondells are replacing artwork from the 1914 painted artwork on the Cathedral's walls. The original artwork featured, for example, images of the Blessed Mother and said Regina Caeli. All of the original painted art was lost due to decades of soot rising from candles and incence. Towards the end of the renovation, we hope to repaint and re-stencil the entire interior of the Cathedral - including the rondells.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Doors are hung

We were able to save the doors and have them installed today. All of the drywall corners are finished too.

The photo on the right shows the restroom door. There is another door leading up to the choir loft.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Drywall is Up

The carpenters have attached drywall to the studs. I was a bit surprised to see the walls extending almost to the ceiling. The old usher's closet was about 8 feet high, but the new walls are at least 12 or 14 feet high. It will look nice - not necessarily out of place at all.

The space for the handicapped accessible bathroom is fairly large. The old bathroom was quite small. There was barely room for a toilet and a corner-mounted sink. The new bathroom is probably four times the size of the old one.