Restoration at the Resurrection
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 28, 2012 7:56PM
Tom Brown, of Dyer, right, and Mike Watts, of Hobart, replace floor tiles at the Chapel of the Resurrection on the campus of Valparaiso University Tuesday July 24, 2012. The chapel is undergoing a restoration with work scheduled to be finished by August 17. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Summer worship at Valparaiso University takes place at 8:30 a.m. Sundays in the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, Room 1519 (Bauer Hall).
For more on the Chapel of the Resurrection and other construction projects on campus, go to http://www.valpo.edu/construction/.
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:14AM
VALPARAISO — The Chapel of the Resurrection on the Valparaiso University campus is getting a spruce-up.
The chapel officially closed for the summer May 20, and that’s when the work began.
The clear windows in the nave are being replaced with replicas in energy-efficient glass; the same firm that made the original window handles is making new ones that match the old ones. A new heating and ventilation system is in place, with the capability to add air conditioning in the future. And the chapel’s organs, including the large one in the gallery, have been refurbished and are being re-installed.
“What’s happening right now isn’t a renovation. What’s happening right now is a restoration,” said Brian Johnson, executive director of campus ministries, noting no extensive work has been done to the chapel since it was constructed in 1959.
All of the work must be complete by midnight on Aug. 17, since classes start Aug. 21, said Fred Plant, the university’s director of capital projects and planning.
The project, coming from $15 million in donations, is really the first part of a bigger plan — an addition to the chapel that would include office, program and meeting space for campus ministry programs.
The chapel has a handful of offices spread through the building, and the rest of the staff for various ministerial programs are all over campus.
“The flavor of the gift as it was announced was to support campus ministry, so that staff is defining programs and needs,” Plant said
It made sense to do the restoration work first and then tailor the scope of the addition to the remaining funds, Plant added. An estimate on the restoration work was not immediately available.
The chapel’s mid-century architecture is significant, Johnson said, so much of the work is being done with historical preservation in mind. That includes matching the paint for the window frames and heating vent covers to their original colors.
“It’s also giving us a really good opportunity to do some work on the organ. We were trying to take care of that instrument as long as the chapel wasn’t available,” Johnson said, adding two smaller organs, as well as the large one in the gallery, are being refurbished.
Earlier this week, pipes from the large organ sat in crates, awaiting installation and looking much like the disassembled limbs of the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz.”
Berghaus Pipe Organ Builder in Bellwood, Ill., removed the organ’s 5,518 pipes, which range in size from pencil-like to 16 feet. Each pipe was cleaned and got a new swell shade, the louver that controls the pipes, service manager Joseph Poland said.
Six employees spent a week and a half taking all the pipes down — “It was two semitrailer loads,” Poland said — and the company took about two months refurbishing them.
Starting Monday, Berghaus employees will spend two weeks putting the pipes back in place. It will take several days after that to tune each of the organ’s pipes and restore its voice.
“There’s no pushing this deadline out,” Poland said.