Local News

In 2015, Duke Chapel to begin one-year renovation

Posted April 30, 2014

— Duke Chapel will be closed for about a year between May 2015 and May 2016 while crews reinforce and rehabilitate the ceiling and roof of the building. Inside, workers will restore stained-glass windows, woodwork and pews, and clean the chapel's floor and walls.

The chapels bells will continue to ring daily at 5 p.m. throughout the construction period.

Duke officials said regularly scheduled weekly worship services would be moved to other locations. Sunday worship services are tentatively set for Baldwin Auditorium during the summer and Page Auditorium in the fall. Christmas and Easter services may be moved to larger locations. Officials also recommended that alumni and other Duke-affiliated families consider planning weddings at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens or the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. 

Work will be done by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., a firm out of Illinois which has worked on both the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral. 

There have been few updates to the iconic building since it opened in 1932. Duke University is working through an update to many old buildings, including Perkins Library, West Union and Baldwin Auditorium.

"We're acting now to maintain and preserve the chapel as one of the last great examples of neo-Gothic architecture on a collegiate campus," said Tallman Trask III, Duke's executive vice president.


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  • iopsyc May 1, 2014

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    Federally backed loans are not the same thing as directing tax revenue to fund a University. Duke would be just as happy to accept privately backed loans.

  • Grand Union Apr 30, 2014

    "No. Duke is a private institution and receives no tax funds from the state or federal government."

    Apart from the Federally backed Student loans it takes in the millions every year.........a lot of which the Gov. ends up swallowing.
    Its doubtful that many of the private universities would survive long without them.

  • childofNC Apr 30, 2014

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    No. Duke is a private institution and receives no tax funds from the state or federal government.

  • LetsBeFair Apr 30, 2014

    The man who designed the chapel had not seen what he'd created. Its not that he wasn't alive, but rather, he was a prominent black architect from Philadelphia and didn't feel comfortable coming down to see it back in the day.

  • Kenneth Gordon Hart Apr 30, 2014
    user avatar

    Heinz Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh is another incredible collegiate Gothic structure on par with Duke Chapel.

  • archmaker Apr 30, 2014

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    why would they be? why would you think that?

  • dwr1964 Apr 30, 2014

    Is Duke receiving any tax payer funds to help pay for this?

  • Lorna Schuler Apr 30, 2014
    user avatar

    I'm glad they are renovating/repairing/cleaning the old girl. Such a beautiful chapel. A wonderful architectural example.

  • baldchip Apr 30, 2014

    Duke Chapel is a North Carolina icon!! Once inside, the structure is awe inspiring. And when that beautiful organ is played, one can feel the goose bumps all day long!!

  • Grand Union Apr 30, 2014

    I'm not religious but I do like a good gothic church or Cathedral. They were designed to awe the visitor and they do.