Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel to close to visitors for four years

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UPDATE (December 20, 2018): This closure has been delayed until June 17. 

ORIGINAL STORY (October 30, 2018): 

The Air Force Academy’s iconic Cadet Chapel will close for at least four years starting January 1, academy officials announced Monday. 

The chapel will be closed for renovations and repairs. Air Force Academy officials said one of the main issues is water coming in through the roof during heavy rainstorms, which is affecting the massive 4,500-pipe organ. The organ will have to be disassembled for the first time and restored due to water damage. 

Cadet Chapel spokesman Stephen Peterson said the chapel is a national historic site, so the work is complex because no structural alterations can be made. That’s why the restoration is expected to take four years. 

“We look at over 24,000 pieces of stained glass alone here in the Protestant chapel,” Peterson said. “All those get removed, they get cleaned, restored and inventoried. And of course when they get put back in, every single piece has to get put pack in the exact same location, in the exact same position.”

Workers will also check for asbestos and lead-based paint.     

Peterson said they anticipate having to shut down cranes and stop work for high winds and other weather concerns during the process. 

Religious services for cadets will be held at alternative locations during the closure.

They chapel will be open to visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through the end of the year. 

The chapel will have three services on Christmas Eve: two Protestant candlelight services at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and a 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass. All of the services are open to the public.

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