Vail chapel renovation work hits the end of its first phase |

Vail chapel renovation work hits the end of its first phase

Construction gears up again in late August

People attend the April groundbreaking on an extensive renovation of the Vail Interfaith Chapel.
Chris Dillmann/

Construction that began April 5 at the Vail Interfaith Chapel is now finishing, just in time for Vail’s busy summer season.

In the first phase of the $7 million project, the first of four over the next 18 months, construction renovations included the replacement of the west end of the parking lot and related snowmelt system, related boilers, roof replacement and new windows in the chapel itself.

“We’re very excited to return to ‘normal’ after this first phase, which was relatively simple from the Chapel staff’s perspective,” Vail Religious Foundation President Pastor Tim Wilbanks said. “It seemed easy because of the incredible efficiency and organization of our general contractor, Beck Building Co., the town of Vail’s support, and the diligent detail and professionalism of Suman Architects. We’re grateful beyond words.”

A new roof

The previous roof materials on both the 52-year-old chapel and 23-year-old ministry building was 25-year-old wood shake, which was not compliant with current Vail building codes. The new roof material is synthetic multi-width slate by DaVinci, which meets Vail building and fire code requirements. New snow guards and fencing and gutters were also installed.

“Phase 1 construction included important upgrades that strengthen the chapel’s charm while providing better protection from the elements,” said Mike Suman, principal of Suman Architects.

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The west half of the parking lot has been replaced and snowmelt installed, in partnership with FirstBank of Vail, which shares the lot. Electric vehicle chargers have been installed in partnership with Holy Cross Energy. The 25-year-old boiler was replaced to power the new snowmelt system.

“The old boiler stopped working and remained unfixable for the last eight years, so this is a much-needed improvement for our older demographic attending services,” Wilbanks said.

The Phase I construction is on track to be completed at approximately $200,000 under budget.

“All of us on the construction team and at the (Vail Religious Foundation) are very appreciative of the partnership with the town of Vail and the support received from its staff,” said Suman. “The project’s success to date could not have happened without them.”

Phase 2 in August

Construction projects beginning this fall include window replacement on the chapel building’s west side, excluding the window behind the altar; the east section of the parking lot including the driveway; elevator replacement; and solar panel installation.

Additional work is scheduled to begin in 2022 on landscaping and riverbank restoration, kitchen and sacristy renovations, meeting and office space redesign, additional window replacements, work on the circle entry and doors, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system replacements, on-site battery energy storage, security and communication upgrades and new energy efficient lighting. The total cost for 2022 projects is estimated at $3.5 million to $4 million.

Fundraising continues

Fundraising efforts continue to move forward with the total to date raised at $3.5 million, with $6.5 million still needed. A fundraising event, “Embracing Our Community,” will be held at Donovan Pavilion July 22 and features the Tony Gulizia Trio, along with a special guest, presented by Alpine Bank. For more information, go to

“We’ve had some very generous individual gifts from locals such as Betsy and George Wiegers, who are truly invested in maintaining our community,” Director of Development Katie Campbell said. “We are so grateful for generosity from our residents and guests because the Chapel is so special as the heart of our community.”

For more information about the campaign and construction projects, or to donate or make a pledge now, go to or call 970-476-3347.

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