First opened in 1881, the Mother church of the Diocese of Green Bay, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, was in need of interior renovation. The spiritual facility was closed for three months, September through November of 2017, to expedite the restoration process.
H.J. Martin and Son was called upon for its expertise to handle the new flooring within the cathedral. Gary VandenLangenberg and Rachel Weber of the Commercial Flooring team worked with church and diocese leaders for roughly one year, planning the project.
Porcelain tile was installed throughout the sanctuary for its durability, meeting the need for it to hold up to many years of church use. Approximately 7,600 square feet of Atlas Concorde tile was installed over top of the existing floor in a three-tile size pattern – 24×24, 12×12 and 12×24 – to combine interesting, aesthetic appeal with a strong performance.
The altar was extended in two directions, and H.J. Martin and Son installed natural travertine stone slabs on both the stairs and risers.
Additionally, the main entrance vestibule staircase was re-tiled. This piece of the project took skill to lay out how each step would line up and work around the handrails.
“The new tile is much brighter,” said Steve Motl, the volunteer project leader, and a parish member. “It really makes the whole church look brighter, cleaner, bigger and, even when the pews were reinstalled, look more open.”
The altar carpet also was replaced and modified. It was changed from a light green to a dark red in an effort to strongly accentuate the centerpiece of the church, along with letting the paintings above it to fully shine. A durable carpet product additionally was installed in a heavily trafficked choir loft and confessionals.
The Walls & Ceilings division of H.J. Martin and Son participated in the project through the installation of new acoustical ceiling tile in the main, east-side entrance, and in a nearby gathering area. The work was labor intensive due to the fact that ceiling tile typically is not fastened to a hard material such as the marble walls in the cathedral.
The Glass & Glazing division was involved in a special part of this project, as it installed glass over the tomb of Green Bay’s second Bishop, Francis Xavier Krautbauer, who established Catholic schools in the city and who worked on the planning and building of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Chapel in Champion, Wis.
The H.J. Martin and Son Doors & Hardware division installed new interior doors throughout the building, including solid brass doors in the main entrance.
Also, the Floorcare division cleaned and resealed the old travertine on the altar.
In addition to these renovations, separate crews restored the church’s 10 large canvas oil paintings and mural, along with cleaning the main pipe organ’s 3,000 pipes and rebuilding its console. Additionally, its pews were removed for refurbishment, plus other upgrades and maintenance items.
The interior upgrades capped a series of restorations, costing $2.7 million, beginning with exterior work in 2015. All renovations were completed in time for the 150-year anniversary of the Diocese of Green Bay, celebrated on March 3, 2018.