St. Gregory's University Unveils Earthquake Restoration Plans

Friday, November 2nd 2012, 9:48 pm
By: News 9

Something's missing from the Shawnee skyline. The turrets that toppled at Saint Gregory's University's Benedictine Hall following last year's record earthquake are now piles of brick and mortar.

"When I was hired here, I told the Board that I was probably going to shake things up, but I didn't really have an earthquake in mind," St. Gregory's President Greg Main said.

But that's exactly what happened during the school's homecoming November 5, 2011.

"All of a sudden everything started shaking," student Kristina Gonzalez said. "We thought like lights broke or someone was getting into a fight. And the next thing we know, everyone's running outside."

This week, our News 9 crew was the first tv station to get an up close look at the damage from the rooftop.

President Main calls Benedictine Hall the heartbeat of campus. He said the process to restore the nearly 100 year old Hall to its original character has had its challenges.

"The bricks are pretty interesting in and of itself because they're not bricks anybody makes anymore, so they had to be custom made," Main said.

The new turrets will also be earthquake proof.

"When we put the turrets back up, they're going to be reinforced," Main said.

A more than $1.5 million project Main said is worth every penny.

"It's an important part of the landscape here so we want to honor that and restore it to its grandeur."

Saint Gregory's is using this time to fully restore Benedictine Hall with new windows and a new roof, before the building's centennial celebration in 2015. The new turrets should be in place by summer 2013.