Experts review chapel restoration
Students coming home from a semester abroad may find the
Bowdoin campus to be in a refreshingly similar state to how they left
it. However, one step onto the Quad may leave them wondering "Where
has the chapel gone under all of that that scaffolding and plastic!?"
(For the more technical we'll call that scaffolding and "scrim").
According to Bill Gardiner, Director of Facilities, weather
and water damage have caused major structural damage and deterioration
in both towers of the chapel. The process of restoration will be a long
one, he says, and the completion date is yet unclear.
Gardiner says that the College is continuing to explore
solutions with the same firm that they previously hired, but that in addition,
they've engaged a group of peer reviewers who have expertise in restoration.
The team includes Arthur Femenella, a restoration expert
from New Jersey, Dr. Kahlead Ibrahim, a consultant from Ottawa, Canada,
and Macel Joanisse of the Heritage Masonry section of the public works
in Canada, the same firm that worked on the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.
The team met Wednesday to evaluate various methods in correcting
the structural problems with the chapel, which will involve taking each
stone down from the top of each tower and re-erecting the stones in exactly
the same place as they were originally placed.
Already, computerized scans have been taken of every stone
that will be dislodged to ensure that it is replaced correctly. The reviewers
are expected to report their conclusions some time next week.
Currently, the chapel can still be used, as the scrim that
is wrapped around each tower is designed to prevent any loose debris from
falling and creating a potentially hazardous situation to passersby. Beginning
in March, however, when the work on disassembling the chapel will begin,
the building will not be accessible for any activities until the project
Bowdoin's chapel may currently look like a bit of an eyesore amongst the brick and snow that blankets the rest of campus, but this much needed renovation will keep the chapel standing tall for many generations of Polar Bears to come.