Notre Dame adds air conditioning to church building
May 6, 2017

Notre Dame de Chicago Church has undergone extensive renovations, and has now added air conditioning to the building. Weekend liturgies are offered on Saturday evenings at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. in English and
Noon in Spanish.

Notre Dame de Chicago Church, located at 1336 W. Flournoy St., has spent the last month under renovation, with workers installing an air conditioning system in the 130-year-old church building. The building has only eight stained glass windows that could be opened, so the church was hot on many days, according to Pastor Msgr. Patrick Pollard. “Summer attendance was very low,” he said, noting that, because of the building’s age and structural complexities, it took several weeks to install the new air conditioning system.

Parishioner Joseph Bosco, who has been coming to Notre Dame de Chicago Church for more than 27 years, often helps his faith community with mechanical work. He sits on the parish’s building committee and volunteered to install the new air conditioning system. “The system consists of two 15- ton compressors and two dual- speed air handlers,” Bosco said. “The compressors are located just to the east of the church. The two air blowers are located in the choir loft of the church.

These two highspeed devices will fill the nave of the church with the cool air.” The new system also will save energy because Notre Dame can program it to run for specific times and to shut off when not needed. The technology allows the church to control it via a smart phone application. The new air conditioning system and installation cost the parish approximately $160,000.

“This is my final project,” said Msgr. Pollard, who will retire early this summer. “I wanted to make the church a comfortable place for the people to pray and worship.” For the last ten years, he has overseen multiple restorations and upgrades at the church, including installing an elevator that provides access to the ground level and sanctuary and a new sound and electrical system, repairing the floor in the lower church hall, and renovating the restrooms to make them both modern and handicapped-accessible. Workers also added ramps to the altar and put the elevator doors on the church building’s west side, adjacent to the parking lot near the handicap parking spaces, for ease of access.

“I want people to enjoy their experience at Notre Dame de Chicago,” he said. After a 2015 fire, Msgr. Pollard also oversaw church rectory renovations. The church has seen other changes through the years: a fire in 1978, which damaged its dome and caused services to be held in the lower church hall for four years until workers completed repairs, and an extensive renovation in 2005. French-speaking immigrants founded Notre Dame in 1864, and initial construction of the current church lasted from 1887 to 1892.

The 2005 renovation dramatically changed the church’s interior. Workers restored the murals inside the dome; they also expanded the altar, which required rearranging pews. Msgr. Pollard’s vision has been to maintain and improve the building so generations of parishioners would have a home away from home. “The more we improve the building, the longer we will have it,” he said.

For more information, call (312) 243-7400 or log on to http://nddc.

— Gabija Steponenaite