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Boldt Leverages Local Workforce for Historic Shrine Construction

Boldt Leverages Local Workforce for Historic Shrine Construction

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Oklahoma commuters have likely seen the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine just west of Interstate 35 but may not be familiar with the team responsible for the construction of the striking complex.

The Boldt Company, a local construction management firm, broke ground on the shrine in 2020. Nearly three years later, the project is ready for its debut and dedication ceremony Feb. 17, 2023.

Ninety percent of the workers on the project hail from Oklahoma, including a variety of trade contractors. The result is an intricate, 52-acre site with a 38,000-square-foot Spanish-colonial style Catholic Church and shrine, Tepeyac Hill, which is a reproduction of an important pilgrimage site in Mexico City, and a 14,000-square-foot Pilgrim Center with a museum and gift shop.

The deeper, spiritual purpose of the project and its size added a new level of complexity, but Boldt Senior Director Tony Yanda knew his team could rise to the challenge.

Innovation and Safety 

One such challenge was installing the 45,000 pound, 34-foot-tall dome topping the church.

Due to the complexity and intricate detailing, Boldt opted to build the dome on the ground before lifting it more than 200 feet into the air.

Because of the height of the structure and the extra work needed on the dome, Boldt arranged a fall protection demonstration and developed specialized scaffolding to finish the interior and exterior detail work. Many of the trade workers had never been part of such a complex project, and these efforts helped keep them safe and instill confidence during the installation process.

The precautions paid off: under Boldt’s supervision, there weren’t any recordable safety incidents at the site since the project broke ground in 2020.

Boldt’s efforts also resulted in cost savings to the Archdiocese by ensuring quality and attention to detail — two elements the company prioritizes for all its customers. Additionally, the management team had to contend with universal issues related to the pandemic: cost escalation, a shortage of workers and a lack of building materials.

“The beauty inside and out makes this project special, but it required a lot of pre-planning,” said Yanda. His team worked with materials ranging from bricks and stone to glass, copper, architectural woodwork, synthetic Spanish terracotta roof tile, Mexican Saltillo Tile and more. Thanks to excellent pre-planning skills, Boldt was able to acquire these building tools and make substitutions where needed.

Yanda said the shrine was a labor of love. The project required all hands on deck, and the dedicated construction crew frequently worked 60-hour weeks, including weekends, to ensure its completion.

Another unique aspect of building the shrine was accommodating needs not found in a typical project. Workers were tasked with installing 17th century, handcrafted liturgical pieces, along with statues, murals and other elements to provide meaning and history to the shrine. The final product is a facility that mirrors Blessed Stanley’s church in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.

Pre-planning, utilizing a skilled local workforce and considering everything from delivery schedules to protecting tile floors made it all possible.

Honoring Blessed Stanley Rother’s Legacy 

The shrine is the final resting place for Blessed Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma-born priest who was martyred in Guatemala. Rother is on the path to being named a saint, and the shrine and church built in his honor will be the largest Catholic church in Oklahoma.

Yanda said the detailed nature and meaning of the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine project made completing the complex an exceptional part of his career.

“This isn’t just another church,” said Yanda, who is Catholic. “It has special meaning because of the purpose it serves for Catholics in our community and around the world. We are very proud to deliver this project in time for the dedication ceremony on February 17.”

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