Repairs continue on King Chapel at Cornell College

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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MT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - Cornell College is preserving what it calls an icon on campus - the King Chapel.

Tessa Stolz remembers walking into King Chapel for the first time as a freshman nearly four years ago. To her, the preservation of this building is as important as preserving the memories made inside.

“It is very important to restore this building because it’s where we gather as a community,” she said. “Really exploring King Chapel was through steel drums. I learned how to play in King Chapel four years ago so it’s been my introduction to that.”

For alum and current Director of Communications, Dee Ann Rexroat, the memories date back over 40 years.

“It is really the touchstone for Cornellians, but it’s also an icon for the state of Iowa,” said Rexroat.

Since the derecho damaged the building almost two years ago, the normal guests of the chapel have been replaced by construction crews.

Last winter they removed the pipe organ.

Now they are working to secure the building with boards before starting in on the actual repairs.

“Four of the roof trusses were damaged and that was causing structural damage to the building,” said Rexroat.

As they continue to work to repair the nearly 5 million dollars in damage, students have found alternative places to practice an instrument, gather for an event, or see a show.

But nothing can replace King Chapel.

“I just have so many more memories in King Chapel, performing in there. It’s just an at home feeling when I’m performing in King Chapel,” said Stolz.

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