Changing course: Diocese works to trim price tag of renovating iconic Christ Cathedral (April 23, 2016)
(E)stimates to renovate the glass sanctuary came in at $108 million – about $50 million more than the funds raised by the Orange Catholic Foundation for the project.
This discrepancy occurred because diocesan officials did not perform construction studies to determine how much money they should raise, officials said. The Orange Catholic Foundation had based its fundraising effort on a 2012 study of how much money it could raise, as opposed to how much money the renovation required.
(Bishop) Vann took action in July, appointing a construction task force to significantly scale down the project and capping the final budget at $72 million. He also appointed a separate task force to bring down operational costs to run the campus. The diocese still is about $13 million short of the final budget for a project it hopes to complete by fall 2018.
So, what's affected?
REINING IN COSTS
The biggest challenge to the renovation project has been to “maintain the spirit” of the iconic structure while keeping costs under control, said Richard Heim, a special volunteer adviser who is overseeing the project.
The design change that has helped bring down the price is the decision to “keep the bones of the building intact,” he said.
“This is a glass cathedral built in a seismic zone,” Heim said. “It’s certainly strong and well-constructed.”
Also, instead of buying stone for the interior from a quarry in Italy, officials will opt for stone that costs 30 percent to 40 percent less but could still produce similar aesthetic effect and durability.
Instead of going for a solid, marble altar, they’ve settled for long-lasting marble veneer.