125_6380The restoration of a South Dakota cathedral moves to its final stages – but will the stone work be done by deadline?


Editor's note: Joe Becker continues his report on the natural-stone segment of the St. Joseph Cathedral restoration in Sioux Falls, S.D.

As June approaches, so does the deadline for marble completion at St Joseph Cathedral.

small_6399Click photo to enlargeAs you may recall from previous blog entries, Nov. 1, 2010, was the completion date for Phase I, and June 1, 2011, is the completion date for Phase II. The project won’t be complete by June 1, but the clients want the marble completed so other trades have time to finish their work (associated with the marble) before the final completion deadline in July. Are we going to make it??

May became a busy time for stone delivery, as the last two containers arrived with the remaining altars, communion rail and baptismal font, as well as some paver material and the two waterjet-created Coats of Arms (COA). The COAs will be placed in a prominent place in the Narthex floor in the midst of the marble paving. small_6383Click photo to enlarge

Each COA is a 48”-diameter multi-colored stone medallion cut by waterjet cut and assembled in Italy. One is for Pope Benedict XV, who was in authority when the church was dedicated; the other is for the current Pope, Benedict XVI, who’s in authority during the restoration.

Even though many bad unexpected things can happen in a short time, I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll be finished by June 1. All the stone is onsite and the material has a great track record of matching the shop drawings.

Plus, foreman Al Snowaert is already asking about what job he’s going to next. You know things look good when your field guys are asking about the next place they’ll be working.

This is not a lengthy blog entry; to be honest, the job is coming to a close. I personally haven’t spent much time on the project recently, but I do answer the calls and respond promptly if needed.