Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:04
By Christopher M. Riggs
WICHITA – The sounds of progress – the din of back-up warning beeps, concrete saws, drills, and other noises – are resonating across the campus of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
One of the areas that will interest parishioners and downtown Mass-goers is the social hall that will serve as a temporary worship area until work in the church is complete.
Chris Baalmann, project manager for Simpson and Associates, said last week that drywall work was complete and that painting had begun in the social hall. This week workers began hanging the ceiling support grid there and in the next few weeks doors and hardware will be installed.
Although Masses will be celebrated in the temporary chapel, he said, some finishing work will have to be done in between Masses because of material delays. “There is a delay with the floor tile, the acoustical wall panels, the wallpaper – those three items for sure.”
Father John Sherlock, rector of the Cathedral, thought that Masses would begin to be celebrated in the temporary space in mid-October.
Work is also moving quickly in an area that is most noticeable to passersby, a large hole at the north end of what will become the gathering space. Trucks of concrete began lining up this week to fill in the walls made up of reinforcement steel bars. Once the walls are done, the floor will be poured.
Baalmann said work on the ground-level office space, the former Pius X and Marian rooms, will progress to a point and then be placed on hold until air conditioning and heating can be installed.
“Some of the metal studs are up, most of the mechanical work is done, and they are ready to do the plumbing in there for the restrooms,” he said. “When that’s finished – in a week or so – they will start framing those offices, but that space will not be turned over until the end of the project.”
Work continues in the St. Joseph Pastoral Center, the building on the east side of the campus that will house Catholic Charities, parish religious education classrooms, the diocesan Hispanic Ministry offices.
Demolition is complete on the third and second floors, and continues on the first floor. Much of the ductwork on the third floor is done and a new floor on that level will soon be installed. Work continues on the main entrance on the east side of the center but new construction, that will include an elevator shaft, won’t begin for a while because work in that area will impede equipment from moving around the site.
After Masses have been moved to the social hall, work will begin in the church, Baalmaan said. One of the first tasks on his list there is removing the pews, which will be shipped to a Nebraska company for renovation.
“We’re moving forward. It’s a typical remodel. We are finding little things here and there, but nothing we haven’t been able to overcome yet,” he said.