Donation will give Basilica of St. Josaphat air conditioning
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MILWAUKEE - When it's this hot, air conditioning can provide some much needed relief, but that's been a luxury that the Basilica of St. Josaphat has not had.
"Fans, that's been it for over 100 years," executive director of the Basilica Foundation's Susan Rabe tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka.
But fans and open windows are not quite enough to keep people cool in the historic landmark "It keeps visitors away and it keeps people away period from the Basilica, it closes off the Basilica for any special events," Rabe admits.
But that's all changing. Rabe says a generous donation was made to help keep it colder while inside the Basilica. "The Fotsch Family Foundation, their gift was air conditioning the Basilica. The technology is called reverse displacement so it's modern technology in an old landmark building."
Holes are being cut into the floor beneath the pews to transport air up to visitors of the famous site. "You really won't notice it except for on the floor, yet everyone who comes will be comfortable," Rabe says.
Even the artwork has been suffering in the summer heat Rabe explains, "We see bubbling of the priceless oil paintings every summer, the humidity kind of pulls them off of the wall, so it's really about preserving what's in here, all the artwork, everything the Basilica is for more generations to come."
And while the majority of the Basilica will be feeling the chilling effect of the new climate system, there are still parts that need to be cooled Rabe says. The Fotsch Foundation has challenged the Basilica Foundation Board of Directors to raise the funds to air condition the lower church and the choir loft.
"Those challenges to the board is about a hundred thousand dollars, so we're looking for the community hopefully to support us and help us raise that money," Rabe says