Chapel roof to be replaced this spring

Another construction job is coming to Canisius. The school will spend about $1.2 million on a new roof and other repairs at Christ the King chapel.

The roof of the Christ the King chapel on campus was built in 1951 and has developed a leak problem in recent years. (Tessa Pszoniak)

As the Palisano Pavilion fitness center project wraps up on campus this spring, another construction project will begin. 

Vice President for Business and Finance Marco Benedetti told The Griffin on Wednesday that the roof of Christ the King chapel is to be replaced beginning in May with construction to be completed over the summer. 

The whole project will cost around $1.2 million, $600,000 of which will specifically pay for the new roof. The rest of the money will repair water damage to the chapel’s interior walls. Canisius will pay for the construction up front, but Benedetti said the school is looking for donors to cover the cost. 

“Last year, we went to the trustees and senior leadership, talked to advancement and said, ‘we really need to fix the roof otherwise we are going to have damage that will be greater,’” Benedetti said. 

Canisius officials determined that a complete tear-off of the roof was necessary to repair leaks. Wood underneath the roof tiles will likely have to be repaired or replaced as well. The roof is original to the chapel, which was constructed in 1951. The amount of wood that needs replacing will affect the final cost of the project. 

“How much will only be determined once you remove all the tile,” he said. 

Another issue that has to be dealt with is potential asbestos in the chapel flooring. Since the pews will have to be removed to allow scaffolding and lifts, officials will have the opportunity to take care of potential issues in the floor. 

“We put a plan together and said, ‘okay if we were taking care of everything, what would that amount be,’” Benedetti said. “When we get a donor who appreciates that and wants to donate to take care of all those repairs, we want to do them at once when it was efficient to do that.” 

The construction will be completed even if donors are not immediately found. “Literally when summer break hits, we’re going to start working on that,” Benedetti said. 

Canisius officials have been dealing with leaks to the chapel roof stretching back several years. Until now, leaks were fixed with individual spot repairs. A recent assessment revealed that it would be better to replace the roof rather than try and keep up with spot repairs. 

The project already has one group of fans: the Jesuits on campus. 

“I am very pleased that Canisius is able to repair the leaking chapel roof to prevent structural damage to the building and further damage to the inside of the chapel,” Rev. Patrick Lynch, S.J., said via email. 

Don’t expect major aesthetic changes to the chapel. The new roof will be identical to the old one in both material and color. 

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