Chapel upgrades nearing completion
February 12, 2009
Renovations to the Magruder Chapel are scheduled to be completed by mid-March. The $148,000 project began in November.
The chapel is one of three chapels of Chap. (Lt. Col.) David Acuff, 165th Infantry Brigade, calls the strip that have been undergoing renovations.
What we have here are triplets of chapels along the strip (Magruder Chapel, Daniel Circle Chapel and Anderson Street Chapel). They are identical," he said. "It doesn't strike you right away because of their positioning, but they are identical buildings. They were built sometime in the late 50s or early 60s."
Acuff said his first priority at Magruder Chapel was to replace the windows.
"These buildings were the last generation of building designed to be used without air conditioners. About a third of each wall is glass," Acuff said. "All of those old windows open. They would open them all up to get a little bit of cross breeze. When air conditioning era came in you could not cool the buildings because they don't have energy-efficient glass."
The new windows are about one-third the size of the old ones. They are also made of energy-efficient glass, making the chapel easier to cool during the summer.
Acuff said he also plans to replace the flooring in the sanctuary by putting down hardwood floors with carpet under the pews.
"Very little has been done with these chapels during the last 50 years. It could be a set design for Mad Men," Acuff said. "These buildings have been ridden pretty hard. They definitely needed some attention.
"It's a worthy investment. They are building a new BCT barracks facility right across the street, so this chapel will be used for the next 50 years. This building still has a long way to go."
During the renovation process, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment has been holding services in a battalion classroom, while 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment has been using the Joe E. Mann Center.
Acuff said that while it has been an inconvenience to have the chapel closed, the improvements will bring about an aesthetic as well as a spiritual advantage.
"There is a different atmosphere with a service that is in a classroom as opposed to one that is set up as holy space," he said. "The aesthetics, the art, the ambience are definitely influencing people in ways that they realize, and in ways they don't realize."