With new walls framed in, Pat Wanner installs a shower. Below, the dust and disruption
begins: Fr. James removing a door jamb.
Remodeling: Progress Report
by Fr. James Kilzer, O.S.B.
Emily raised her hand. She was one of the more eager students in my third-grade CCD
class. “Yes, Emily?” I indicated. Having a newborn baby brother, she knew the answer
to my question. “A baby takes nine months, that’s what my mom explained to me,” she
announced. Indeed it does. This is why the Angel’s visit to Mary came nine months
before Christmas. Annunciation, conception, gestation, these things take time.
It was way back on January 3, 2007, that our committee first met, planning for more
home-like accommodations for some of our elder members in the monastery. If you’ve
done remodeling in your own home over the decades, you know the vagaries of brainstorming,
narrowing down options, settling on a plan, and then living with the disruption and
dust while the work is underway. Our house—being bigger than most—presented us with
a bounty of options, like where to renovate, whether to expand or reduce total number
of rooms in the process, etc.
At last we called in a contractor, Sparling Construction of Bismarck, to draw up
the plans. The work would necessarily displace six monks, most of these getting moved
up to vacant third-floor rooms. Our maintenance manager, Br. John Seiler, is serving
as “general contractor,” securing outside professionals for the major work. Monks
did a good deal of preparatory work starting in mid-September, including removal
of carpet and wall-hung sinks in six rooms, suspended ceiling in two rooms—where
the bathrooms and closets would be framed in.
Our carpenters, Terrence and Eileen Rohr (Rohr Construction of Dickinson), arrived
October 17th and we were officially under way. Since then, our plumber, Pat Wanner
of Hebron (West River Plumbing), and our electrician Joe Wanner (Joe’s Electric,
Hebron) have been in and out. At the time of this writing (mid-November), drywall
work was underway and painting soon to start. It is anticipated the installation
of bathroom fixtures, carpets and doors will conclude the job soon, and these renewed
rooms will be ready for occupancy.
We joyfully anticipate this project’s completion. Our hearty thanks to all who have
contributed financially to make this renovation a reality. God bless you for your
Fr. James paints a door for this remodeled room. In the background, Pat Praus installs