Beginning last November, Robert Carr Chapel has been undergoing renovations with the goal of addressing accessibility, usability and refreshing the physical appearance of the building.
With the chapel as one of the last buildings on campus to be made handicapped accessible, stakeholders across campus, including faculty, staff, administrators and students came together beginning in 2015 to make this project a reality. It has been said that we shape our buildings and that thereafter they shape us. We believe this is especially true to the chapel and how it’s shaped countless generations. Hence, we engage in this project with that in mind, and will maintain the spirit, character and architectural integrity of this beloved space while responding to the need for increased accessibility and usability.
The chapel, built in 1952, is a landmark for generations of Horned Frogs and the Fort Worth community, serving as a point of entry to TCU and a place to worship. Many design elements from American Colonial churches are evident in the chapel’s architecture, including the iconic stone columns, spire, brass chandeliers, Palladian windows and classically designed chancel. These familiar features will remain unchanged. So what will change?
- The addition of a handicapped-accessible ramp built in the cloister and a wheelchair lift to allow access to the chancel will enhance accessibility.
- The installation of two wheelchair-accessible restrooms (adaptation of one existing restroom and addition of a new restroom).
- The fixtures of the chancel will be movable, including the pulpit, lectern and communion table.
- Movable wooden chairs will replace the stationary chancel pews to create accessible pathways for those leading or involved in worship.
- Two rows of sanctuary will be altered to include a removable piece to accommodate wheelchair seating.
- The chancel will be extended slightly to accommodate proper placement of the piano for desired acoustics.
- The organ will be raised from its recessed position to a more prominent placement on the chancel.
- Existing lighting will be upgraded to highlight the chancel and offer variable brightness settings.
- Hardwood flooring that matches existing wood accents will replace the tile flooring in the sanctuary.
- The wooden pews will be refinished and adorned with grey cushions.
- A fresh coat of paint will enhance the entire chapel, and a dark purple runner will don the center aisle.
- Walkways on the west and east sides of the chapel will be repaved and freshly landscaped.
Renovations are expected to take several months and the chapel will reopen at the end of May.
Robert Carr Chapel welcomes an average of 15,000 guests each year as it is host to more than 100 weddings and 400 events. Couples are already securing wedding dates for June 2017 and beyond, and the Chapel’s staff currently seek stories of those who were married in the chapel for a memory project. Stories may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For chapel availability or any questions regarding renovations, please email email@example.com.