This project was a complex renovation to Wichita’s Catholic Cathedral, originally built in 1910. The initial task was to catalog, measure, and photograph the 35’ tall hand-carved rear altar. The Cathedral’s renovation called for the dismantling of this rear altar and relocating it forward 25’ in the sanctuary, shorten the height by 5’, and create a free-standing element with a walkthrough, arched opening.
The free-standing design required Rugo and their engineer, to design two solid filled unit masonry piers to support the marble column element. Our highly skilled team field measured and cataloged the hundreds of intricate hand-carved pieces, created shop drawings, and numbered each piece of stone. Our marble masons dismantled the rear altar, and its stone was safely crated and stored for four months while the sanctuary was demolished and a new masonry support structure constructed.
Once the rear altar structural support was complete, Rugo erected the historic marble to meet the new free-standing design. Rugo restored the rear altar damage and cleaned all the candle wax and dirt which had accumulated over 100 years of service. Rugo also dismantled a very fragile tabernacle element, made small modifications/additions, and installed in front of the new free-standing rear altar.
The new sanctuary design called for a dark black granite paving installed in the form of a cross, with accents of white Carrara C, which needed to match the materials used on the rear altar. Rugo also constructed an elaborate baptismal font, with many intricate radial pieces that had to coordinate with the water circulation system.
Rugo also provided new elements for the ambo and fabricated a new front altar that had small columns of Paonazzo marble to match the rear altar columns. The project won the 2013 MIA Pinnacle Award of Excellence for Renovation and Restoration.