Sunday, November 15, 2009
Status Update: Holy Name Cathedral
The scaffolding that used to surround the southeast corner of Holy Name Cathedral (735 North State Street) has been taken down and you can now see the fruits of all those years of labor: The new elevator. It's that small annex on the right of this photo one of our readers e-mailed in last week. The design by Jaeger, Nikola and Associates of Park Ridge emulates the top of the cathedral's bell tower, though since it's new the color doesn't quite match yet. A couple of Chicago winters should do the trick.
Until now, people in wheelchairs or who couldn't navigate the church's steps had to use a series of ramps around the left side of the building. In addition, the cathedral's lower level was completely inaccessible to them. That space includes confessionals, a preparation room for brides, and most importantly, restrooms. As Father Dan Mayall put it in this past Sunday's bulletin, "They have been holding it a long time!"
In the parish bulletin, Father Dan also reported that the elevator will be operational within the next two weeks. It's a project the parish has been working on since 2005 -- before the partial ceiling collapse of 2008 or the roof fire of 2009. The total cost was about $1.7 million, paid for by parishioner donations.
Interestingly, one of the reasons the elevator is in a separate little annex of its own is to keep its "ding" from echoing through the very busy, but necessarily very quiet, cathedral. It also allows people waiting for the elevator to wait inside, rather than outside on the snowy street.