Risky renovation: Notre Dame Cathedral

DENVER – Notre Dame Cathedral was undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project when it was engulfed in flames. Currently, Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is also under renovation. It has been for about three years.

The basilica’s pastor, Rev. Ron Cattany, says precautions are taken to keep the Denver landmark standing for another 100 years. Cathedrals around the world are much more than a powerful symbol of faith, they are the centerpieces of communities, Cattany said. The upkeep of those centerpieces is no easy task.

“The company that does those types of restorations has to have adequate insurance to protect the structure,” Cattany said– while explaining the upkeep on his church.

While the cause of the Notre Dame conflagration is under investigation, the prevailing thought is the immense damage is connected to renovation work.

“[Construction workers] might not know of anything that they’re coming across,” said Caroline Clevenger, CU Denver associate professor of construction engineering.

Clevenger says renovation work is riskier than new construction

“When you’re actually constructing in a renovation– there are so many unknowns– especially in a historic structure,” she said.

Despite the tremendous loss, Clevenger and her colleagues say there’s hope.

“There will be a lot of things that will be irreparable, but they can rebuild and they will,” said Greg Gidez, director of design services at Hensel Phelps.

With the shell of the masterpiece still in place, a canvass now exists to perhaps re-create history Paris.

 

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