Old Chancery

Webster building being recycled as crosses, materials for buildings and old barn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (Sept. 28, 2010) – Crosses and materials for buildings and the restoration of a barn are among the ways the former Chancery building at 1910 S. Webster Avenue in Allouez is being recycled.

Nearly all the former Chancery will be recycled, said Dean Hurt of Hurt Recycling.

The firm, which specializes in materials' recovery, removed all historical or reusable materials before the 99-year-old building was demolished on Sept. 1.


"They gathered all reusable fixtures, including doors, light fixtures, ceiling tiles and woodwork. Our goal was to keep all reusable items out of landfills and, by reselling them, offset the cost of deconstruction of the building," said Tammy Basten, Diocesan Director of Facilities and Properties.

  Workers carefully remove windows from former Chancery for reuse in another building.

Most materials being recycled

Hurt said the following percentages of materials will be re-used: 

• Brick
• Steel and iron    99%
• Trim    96%
• Doors and jams    83%
• China hutch  100%
• Staircases  100%
• Plaster angels  100%
• Copper    99%
• Aluminum    99%
• Ceiling tiles    95%
• Lights  100%
• Brass
• Radiators  100%
• Carpeting    40%
• Flooring    50%
• Handrails  100%
• Windows    60%

Copper pipes, railing from staircases and wood, including flooring, are among the items saved for recycling.

Stone Silo uses brick, concrete to restore old barn

Some brick was given as souvenirs, but most brick and concrete has already found a new home at the Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, 2325 Oak Ridge Circle, De Pere, where more than 25 truckloads of brick and concrete debris were hauled last week.

"We're going to use it as fill for the slope up to the second level of this old barn we're restoring," said Ceci Kiefer, co-owner with her husband, Dr. Patrick Kiefer, of the nursery, which specializes in native Wisconsin flowers and grasses.

"Old barns were built with sloped banks so they could drive a vehicle to the upper part. But the pressure from the banks would push against the walls and knock them in, so the bank was taken out in the early '70s. Because of that we haven’t had a way to get up to the second level.

"We've had foundation walls built so the walls of the barn won't have to support that weight and we can create a slope up to the second level. Actually we're creating a slope on two sides so we can drive up one side and out the other. We'll cover the bank with gravel, then dirt and then plant grass on it," said Kiefer, who is a member of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.

Getting material was fortuitous

She said the whole thing was fortuitous because they had planned to get their fill materials from the new roundabout at G and GV, but that project was recently put off until next year.

So she contacted Deacon Tim Reilly, director of administration for the Diocese of Green Bay, and arranged with him to receive the fill.

"It's extremely helpful for us," Kiefer said. "We will put it to good use as part of our project to restore our 100-year-old barn."

Wood from some doors will be used to make crosses for students at one Catholic school, plus a large cross for the school gymnasium.

Asbestos removed first

Before recycling efforts began, Environet, Inc., of Wisconsin worked two full weeks safely removing the following amounts of asbestos-containing solid waste materials:
  • recycle4620 feet of pipe wrap
  • 50 pipe fittings
  • 50 square feet of sheet flooring
  • 100 windows with glazing
  • 300 square feet ceramic tile glue
  • 20 square feet of silver roof flashing
  • 3,700 square feet of vermiculite

Wiring and pipes were all removed from the building for recycling.              

Several reasons for decision

On May 18, Bishop David Ricken approved razing the building based on recommendations from the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, Diocesan College of Consultors and the Diocesan Finance Council.

The decision to take down the 16,300-square-foot building was based on several factors:
  • A continued rise in maintenance and operation costs.
  • A 2005 architectural review estimated it would cost from $1.74 million to $2 million to address deficiencies in the four-floor building in three important areas: fire alarm and fire suppression systems, handicap accessibility, and heating and cooling.
Income from the property sales will offset the loss of rental fees the Diocese previously received from tenants in Melania and Bosco Halls. Such income is used for operational costs of diocesan facilities.

Since the spring of 2009, the Diocese has invited civic leaders and business people to tour the Webster Street building and to ask questions. All who toured and inquired reached the same conclusion: The property is deficient in a number of important safety codes and renovating was cost-prohibitive.

Attempts to sell building fail

Since April, 2009, there has been varying interest from potential purchasers of the building and/ or land. The appraiser valued the property at a higher level with the building removed than with the building still erected. In October 2009, a "For Sale" sign was positioned in front of the Webster Avenue property. With no written offers to purchase of merit, the Diocese publicly announced in May its intent to deconstruct the building and recycle between 80 to 90 percent of the building’s materials. On May 24, the Diocese announced that it had hired the materials' recovery firm.

The Webster Avenue building was built in 1911 as the bishop's residence. It was converted to office space in the mid-1970s. It was vacated in December 2009 as part of the Green Bay Diocese’s plan to reduce costs and consolidate operations from four buildings to three.

Employees who worked in the Webster Avenue building were relocated to either Melania Hall or the new Chancery (formerly Bosco Hall) on the west side of the campus. The third office building on the diocesan campus is Bona Hall.

More information and photos

Chancery building razed after reusable items removed (Compass story)

Old Green Bay Chancery gets second life (Link to WFRV, channel 5, story and video)