Campus Icon Gets Its Crown

The 45,000 pound cupola of the freestanding chapel at the University of Saint Francis was lifted and placed onto the building's steel frame, a unique step in the construction of the building.

The 6,000-sf, 250-seat Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi is part of the University of Saint Francis’ Faith + Reason Campaign. It is the campus’ first freestanding chapel, which has been a dream of faculty and the sisters of Saint Francis for many years. The centralized location adjacent to Mirror Lake makes the Chapel a highly visible and accessible campus landmark. The cupola features eight windows, each over 10 feet tall. They will flood the interior of the chapel with warm natural light, an important element in the space. The Chapel will host weekly televised mass for the diocese, requiring significant lighting.

Today, the cupola was lifted by a crane and placed onto the steel structure of the Chapel. The octagonal cupola is roughly 35 feet tall and 35 feet wide. A crane capable of lifting 350 tons was used to lift the 45,000+ pound structure to its final location atop the chapel, over 50 feet above the ground.

With the addition of the cupola, the Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi is now the tallest building on campus. It will allow the University to serve not only faculty and students, but the surrounding community. Construction will be complete in the fall of 2018.

As a member of the design team, I’m honored to play a role in the addition of the Chapel to Saint Francis’ campus, and I was thrilled to watch this unique step in the construction of the building.

Pat Steffen RA
Associate, Registered Architect