Since the 1998-99 school year, there have been plans to remodel the chapel. Until recently, the original plans for the renovations in the chapel were to move the worship center farther out into the nave of the church. Now, the plan is to start with the organ and improve the choir loft. Instead of ignoring the chancel, a permanent platform will be extended farther into the nave. These design changes will aid the many different uses of the chapel for worship in regard to speakers and music ensembles. Now the choirs and the organ will be placed in the chancel so that they will be facing the pews.
The 45-year-old organ currently in Boe has been ready for replacement for sometime. According to Sandberg, "[the] organ has been ridden hard and put away wet," which references the frequent use and recent water damage the instrument has sustained over the years.. This damage, as well as the organs age, makes now a prime time to replace the organ.
The Holtkamp Organ Company of Cleveland, Ohio will be designing the new organ. Chris Holtkamp has been working with John Ferguson, Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson professor of organ music, and Catherine Rodland, artist in residence in organ theory, both of whom are very excited about the progress made thus far.
The organ will most likely be installed in December 2005 and work on Boe will continue through January 2006. Plans are to work from the chancel with the organ and choir loft, and then on the nave. Facilities will be working around events and teaching in the religion department. The prep work, construction of the thrust platform with choir facilities and additional staging and the organ are the first phase of the greater project. Once these are completed, construction will work its way further into the nave as funds become available.
Other plans for general facility improvement are slated for the near future, but will be relatively invisible to students on campus. A campus boiler that has been broken for a few years will be replaced by two smaller and more efficient units. This will help facilities match the energy demands more efficiently.
The infrastructure for the new wind turbine will also be put in place this summer. The foundation and electrical duct bank that will house the wiring will be installed so that everything will be ready when facilities receives the tower and turbine.
Toward the end of the summer a signage project will also commence. Two signs will be installed at each building, one for vehicles driving past, and another, smaller one for pedestrians. New directory signs are also being designed, and sub directory signs will be installed at main intersections around campus. These signs will aid St. Olaf guests.
Finally, road repairs on the west side hilltop are also slated to start soon. Carpet replacement and other small projects will take place in academic buildings and residence halls over the summer.