Weather, among other issues, has delayed con­struction on Christ’s Chapel. Abraham Sul­livan | Col­legian

The com­plexity of the stonework and last winter’s cold weather delayed progress on Christ Chapel, according to Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé. Now, problems with the exterior masonry have slowed progress even further.

In the past, skilled masons were more common than they are today, Péwé explained. For such a detailed building as Christ Chapel, masons need to be able to carve each piece of molding by hand. In fact, only one company in the United States — Bybee Stone of Bloom­ington, Indiana — has the ability to make stone with the pre­cision needed for such a large project as Christ Chapel.

The second reason for the delay, Péwé said, is the weather. Last winter, sub-zero tem­per­a­tures froze the mortar being used for con­struction. Wind com­pli­cated the issue for those working on the scaf­folding toward the top of the structure.

Péwé was quick to acknowledge the con­struction workers’ great efforts.

“It’s not because they’re not working very hard — they are,” Péwé said. “They’re working weekends and overtime. It’s amazing what they can do.”

During summer vacation, Weigand Con­struction com­pleted under­ground duct work, including plumbing and elec­trical lines, and poured con­crete the floor. They added the roof and shingles, put up drywall, and com­pleted the interior stonework. The workers also com­pleted lot of metal work for ceiling support, and the outside brickwork is well under way.

So much care and pre­cision has to go into the chapel because it is designed to be “tran­scendent,” said Larry Arnn, pres­ident of Hillsdale College, in an email.

Chaplain Adam Rick agrees.

“Even the archi­tecture cries out, ‘Look heav­enward!’” Rick said.

Rick hopes the chapel’s pro­gramming will serve the same purpose. Times will be scheduled for the chapel to open for med­i­tation and prayer. Plans are underway for a choral Evensong service as well.

Despite the delays, the college hopes to com­plete the chapel in time for grad­u­ation in May, Péwé said. Ded­i­cation will occur the fol­lowing October.

The chapel will be used for what Arnn said are the primary moti­va­tions of the donors: “love of the college, of its pur­poses, and of the Lord.”