Richard W. Kieffer, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of First Interstate Bank of Utah, has been appointed chairman of a new steering committee for the Cathedral of the Madeleine Restoration Campaign.
In making the announcement, the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, said the campaign has been successful in reaching its original goal of $6.3 million."But it has become necessary to raise an additional $1.8 million for a common-sense seismic retrofit, which would offer the cathedral significant protection in the event of an earthquake," Bishop Weigand said.
Kieffer said the new steering committee's purpose is to appeal to major donors and key prospects to help achieve this $1.8 million goal.
"Considering the safety factors as well as the cultural and architectural significance of the cathedral the additional expenditure for seismic reinforcement as this time appears to be prudent," Kieffer said.
Bishop Weigand said the decision to raise additional funds was prompted by the October 1989 California earthquake and its affect on two Bay area cathedrals.
While the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales in Oakland sustained severe structural damage, St. Joseph's Cathedral in San Jose, much closer to the earthquake's epicenter, was not damaged, due to recent seismic reinforcement, Bishop Weigand said.
He convened a committee of Utah seismic experts to do an extensive study of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and the study showed, he said, that the cathedral would be unable to withstand an earthquake of even moderate intensity.
The study proposed a modest retrofit involving mostly steel and concrete bracing in the towers, roof and around the windows.
"A retrofit of this kind would both maintain the structural integrity of the building and provide safety for those inside or nearby the cathedral in the event of an earthquake," he said.
Ground was broken for the Cathedral of the Madeleine on July 4, 1889, and the cornerstone laid on July 22, 1900. Final construction was completed nine years later, and the cathedral was dedicated Aug. 15, 1909.
A mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, the cathedral was designated a State Historical Site in 1970 and a National Historic Monument in 1971.
Other members of the new steering committee include Virginia Albo, John B. Henkels, Donald B. Holbrook, G. Frank Joklik, Ross E. Kendell, Frank Layden, Philip G. McCarthey, Donald J. Roney, Patrick A. Shea, Robert C. Steiner and James C. Stewart.