A NEW LOOK: Chapel gets a makeover

Father Thomas Fey, Robins Chapel Catholic priest, points out some of the facility’s improvements.(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Father Thomas Fey, Robins Chapel Catholic priest, points out some of the facility’s improvements.(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Recent Base Chapel renovations included new energy-efficient lighting, refurbished pews and a new sound system..(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Recent Base Chapel renovations included new energy-efficient lighting, refurbished pews and a new sound system..(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Recent Base Chapel renovations included new energy-efficient lighting, refurbished pews and a new sound system..(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

Recent Base Chapel renovations included new energy-efficient lighting, refurbished pews and a new sound system..(U.S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Walk into the Robins Chapel today and you will immediately sense and see something noticeably different. 

Extensive renovations that took place during much of 2014 have been completed. 

Look down and visitors to the chapel are welcomed by the warm, blue tones of new carpet. Look around in the main sanctuary, and there's new energy-efficient lighting, refurbished pews and a new sound system. A new energy-efficient heating and air system was installed that produces even airflow throughout the day.

The upgrades have been a long time coming, according to Father Thomas Fey, the chapel's Catholic priest. 

"This has made the worship atmosphere much nicer and more conducive to prayer," said the retired lieutenant colonel who has looked forward to the recent upgrades for many years. 

Since March, weekly chapel services were held at the base theater while renovations took place. Worship resumed in the chapel in mid-December.

People conveyed that they were happy to be home and in a place of worship, he said. 

For Sunday, the chapel totals about 200 during Catholic services and 350 for Protestants.

Several months ago the chapel sent away more than 40 pews to be refurbished, replacing its then green upholstery to a more Air Force royal blue, something that tied in well with the carpeting.

For the heating and air, the system's old ductwork was removed and new air handlers were installed. 

Energy-efficient fluorescent lights along the side walls were also added. 

When they're fully lit - along with several overhead lights that were replaced - the results now include a bright, yet restful ambiance. 

Three rows of sidelights just above the altar were also connected. Visitors will notice that with the new fluorescent lighting, there is no humming noise. 

And, dark spots that were formerly apparent in some of the front pews have been eliminated due to a more even spread of light. 

New wiring was run through the chapel's public address system, so while the same speakers are in place, the sound is much clearer.

There's also the addition of recirculated, heated water in the chapel's baptismal font, a new fire alarm system and the addition of the Giant Voice mass notification system in the sanctuary walls.

Other decorative changes include freshly-stained wainscoting and a new coat of white paint on the sanctuary's ceiling.

For what we accomplished, we got the biggest bang for our buck in terms of a cost-conscious project in making the money as far as it could go."