Eighty-five percent of $8.1 million needed for restoration of the Cathedral of the Madeleine has been raised in pledges, it was reported at a "hard hat" construction party Monday evening.
"When the project first began four years ago, nobody thought we could raise the money. However, our $8.1 million campaign has already achieved 85 percent of its goal in pledges. That is a wonderful achievement and a great tribute to the people of Utah," said the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.Partygoers were issued plastic hard hats bearing the cathedral logo and were invited to inspect construction work already under way in the basement of the 82-year-old edifice, located at 331 E. South Temple.
Refreshments were served amid sawhorses and scaffolding in what will become a newly refurbished lower level. A brief program, featuring an overview of the architectural and construction plans, a blessing on the project and music by Utah soprano JoAnn Ottley and the Cathedral Choir, was held in the cathedral proper.
John Belle, of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, New York City, and a partner in the restoration, commented on his initial reaction in walking into the cathedral for the first time. He said he was struck with its "unique interior, its oneness of design and great unity of character."
Charles H. Culp, president of Culp Construction Co., general contractor, discussed the construction schedule and the need to close the building for a period of time. However, he said there will be cathedral viewing days from time to time, giving the public an opportunity to view progress on the restoration project.
The project will include restoration of murals and woodwork, rebuilding of stained-glass windows, installation of new lighting, heating and air-conditioning systems and seismic reinforcement. Work is scheduled to be completed in 1992.
As he blessed plans for the project, Bishop Weigand prayed that "God will bring this work to a successful conclusion, that his protection will keep those who work on it safe from injury and that the renewal of this building will be pleasing in his sight."
The Very Rev. F. Francis Manion, rector of the cathedral, announced that the cathedral parish will remain fully operational during the construction. Sunday Masses will be held at Lowell Elementary School.
"Sometime next year we will have a wonderful rededication ceremony and the whole community will be called together to celebrate this long but very exciting project," the Rev. Manion said.