Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Steps

Now that the turrets have been restored, damage to the balustrade at the top of the building repaired, and most of the tuck pointing of the brick completed, the construction crew has turned its attention to the front steps of Benedictine Hall.  What has taken place so far is the creation of the sub-structure for the steps and some waterproofing around the area of the steps and the creation of better drainage at the entrance of BH.  The photo shows some of the work being done to support the new steps and preparation for pouring concrete in the area behind the steps and under the top landing.  When BH was first built there was an entrance to the lower level that was accessed underneath the steps.  That entrance was bricked up quite a long time ago, but because of historic preservation issues, the area under the steps has to be put back the way it was originally.  The black pipe showing toward the bottom of the concrete block wall is a special "vault" that has been installed where we will later enclose the Benedictine Hall Centennial Restoration Time Capsule. We have collected a number of St. Gregory's memorabilia, etc. that will be placed in the time capsule.  A plaque on the wall will suggest that the time capsule be opened on October 12, 2075, the 200th anniversary of our founders arriving in Oklahoma/Indian Territory.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Remember, Remember...

November, 2011

November, 2012

November, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's the Top

The information and photos for this post have been provided by Mark Saunders, Director of Physical Plant at St. Gregory's. "Yesterday marked a very important day for the reconstruction of Benedictine Hall.  At 8:15 on Friday morning, the masons set the final stone on the turrets.  While there is still work left to do, the completion of the turrets is a thing to celebrate."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Steps Toward Completion

The original front steps on Benedictine Hall were built, as was common at the time, directly on the ground without footings of any kind.  This has led to a certain amount of settling over the years and cracks in the brick and stonework.  All of the long term damage to the steps was made even more evident after the earthquake since some of the bricks and stone from the turret which collapsed fell on the steps.

As the site is prepared to rebuild the front steps, workers are pouring concrete footings to support the structure for the repaired and replaced steps. The construction crew has also added some waterproofing materials to the portions of the wall that will be underground.  Much of the original brick and stone will be used in the new steps, but the foundation underneath will be much stronger.  (Note: the inset brick wall in the photos used to be a doorway which led to the student dining room).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Latest Scoop

Activity on the construction site the past few days has resulted in the following:

The decorative stonework on the east end of the second floor (library) has been repaired.  This part of the building was not damaged during the earthquake but has become increasingly deteriorated over the past few years and was already in need of repair at the time of the earthquake.

The demolition of the front steps has been completed.  New footings and an entirely new substructure will be constructed before the front entry to BH is restored.

Now that the steps have been removed one can see what was a doorway into the original student dinning room on the lower level of the building.  Some of the older members of the monastery say that they remember the door being there, but that it was only used as an emergency exit.  The doorway was bricked up many years ago when the lower level was reconfigured.

The assembly of the scaffolding on the north side of Benedictine Hall has been completed and the masons will begin laying brick in the next few days.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Little Update

The scaffolding on the south side of Benedictine Hall has been completely dismantled and the workers will begin the process of moving the work site around to the north side of the building today.  The demolition crew will now demolish the rest of the front steps so that site preparations can begin and footings for the new steps poured.  All of that should begin soon.

On another note, I just learned that 26,680 bricks are being used in the reconstruction of the turrets.  Here is a photo, from several weeks ago, showing the first of the grotesques being set.  (photo from Mark Saunders)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Staff of St. Gregory

The pastoral staff in the hands of the statue of St. Gregory at the top of Benedictine Hall was replaced today by Abbot Lawrence.  The staff that was installed with the statue during our centennial year in 1976 is an historical artifact of St. Gregory's Abbey, as it was used by our first two abbots.  The decision was made to return the pastoral staff to the abbey and replace it with one made of suitable materials to withstand Oklahoma weather etc.

The staff was first blessed by Abbot Lawrence before he was secured in the lift and made the trip to the top of BH.

The abbot then helped the workmen to position the staff correctly in the hands of the statue of St. Gregory.

The dismantling of the scaffolding that has been used for the restoration of the south turrets will be complete early next week.  As the scaffolding comes down the braces securing it to the building are being removed and the bricks replaced where they had to be removed in order to install the braces.  Once this process of completed, the scaffolding will be moved to the north side of the building where work on the north turrets will commence.  As they have begun preparing the north side of the building for restoration they have discovered some additional damage to the original brickwork which will have to be replaced.