Lorimer Chapel Historic Restoration
Colby College was chartered in 1813 and is one of the nation’s oldest independent liberal arts schools.
The “new” campus dates to 1937, when the college relocated from downtown Waterville to Mayflower Hill. Lorimer Chapel sits at the crest of the hill, the first building completed on the new site, which was developed by architect Jens Frederick Larson.
Ouellet was asked to restore the copper roofing and wood trim of the chapel’s steeple. The team has worked closely with Colby project manager, Dale DeBlois, WBRC Architects, Seacoast Scaffolding, and Hahnel Brothers. Designing a support structure that wouldn’t stress the structural integrity of the historic building was an early challenge. The solution: a freestanding cage was built around the steeple for staging.
Lorimer Chapel and its steeple have withstood the elements atop Mayflower Hill for more than 70 years, a testament to the construction methods of the original builders. The team chose to follow their lead, using construction methods similar to those employed in 1937.
Project manager, David Lawrence, noted the novelty of this job and the particular challenges it presents for the craftsmen involved. “Their work site starts 50 feet in the air,” he said. “From there they climb a narrow, 72-foot ladder, straight up. It’s a test of everyone’s stamina.”
On top of this, workers have been at the mercy of this summer’s heat and humidity. Nevertheless, the project is on time and slated for completion before the fall semester begins.