No pane, some gain!

    

"Because of the tight time schedule and the coordination with other work on the building, we've involved three studios in this project," said Robin Bell, stained glass supervisor for Femenella & Associates of Annandale, N.J., the sub-contractor for the windows. "It would be too much for one studio."


Princeton NJ -- The largest stained glass project in the United States in the last quarter century is continuing in the University Chapel this spring.

The work involves removing, cleaning and releading 27 windows in the building -- the first full restoration attempted on the windows since they were initially installed when the chapel was built in 1925.

"Because there are so many windows and because of their state of disrepair, this is the largest such project in this country in the last 25 years -- maybe ever," said Bob Kelly, site superintendent for the Masonry Preservation Group Inc. of Merchantville, N.J.

Masonry Preservation is the general contractor for the entire chapel project, which, in addition to restoring the windows, includes repointing and repairing the stonework and masonry. The architect for the project is Ford Farewell Mills and Gatsch of Princeton.

Work began on the chapel in February 2000 and is expected to be completed by January 2002. All but one of the 15 windows slated for restoration on the south side of the building have been removed, repaired and reinstalled. Crews now are removing 12 windows on the north side.

Most noticeable to many passers-by is the immense scaffolding erected for the project. Once workers reach the windows by way of the scaffolding on the outside and inside of the chapel, they carefully remove the windows and board up the holes.

The pieces of glass are packed in foam and placed in crates for transporting to stained glass studios in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.

"Because of the tight time schedule and the coordination with other work on the building, we've involved three studios in this project," said Robin Bell, stained glass supervisor for Femenella & Associates of Annandale, N.J., the sub-contractor for the windows. "It would be too much for one studio."

Artisans at the studios document the windows through photographs and rubbings, clean the glass, repair or replace cracked glass and relead the windows.

One of the biggest challenges with the project has been working with the chapel's busy schedule. Catholic Mass continues to be celebrated from noon to 12:30 p.m. weekdays, and weddings, worship services and special concerts continue to take place on weekends.

"Last year before the baccalaureate service, we put up scaffolding, removed two large windows, boarded up the hole and removed the scaffolding, all in a matter of days," Bell said.

For more information on the University Chapel restoration project, visit this Web site: http://webware.princeton.edu/Chapel/restore.htm.

 


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