Beginning in 1994, the Pastoral and Finance Councils of the church took on a $265,000 repair and restoration project. Working closely with Wayne Brungardt (a native son of the parish) of Skecklein and Brungardt, Architects of Hays, the councils moved quickly to weatherproof the exterior, replaster and paint the interior, and update the sound, electrical and heating systems. All due care to respect the historical integrity of the structure was a priority.
It is worth noting that Tim Linenberger of Linenberger Painting of Salina was selected for the painting of the interior. He is the third generation of Linenbergers (originally from Victoria) to have painted the church for the fourth time in the past 80 years.
The colors chosen for this most recent painting return the church to the original rich mauve, or rose, and gold tones. The stenciling comes from a book published at the time the church was built and each one is handpainted. The colors in the stenciling pick up on come of the colors to be found in the stained glass windows. The ribs in the upper ceiling and the lower ceilings are painted in darker tones to visually accent the majestic heights of the Romanesque structure.
The 1994 repair project was followed by others. New carpeting and linoleum was laid in the body of the church in the Fall of 2004. By Spring of 2005, a new heating/boiler system was installed at a cost of $169,500. Around the same time, $60,000 was collected to lay a marble floor in the sanctuary and on the steps leading up to the sanctuary. With those items complete, plans for remodeling the entryways began in April 2005 and were completed in May 2006 at a cost of $50,000. The west entryway's floor and ceiling were torn out and redone. The bathrooms were also updated as well as the gathering/bridal room. The north entryway got a fresh coat of paint and a new floor.
The church roof was re-shingled in 2005 at an expense of $137,000; however, High Plains Roofing of Hays, Kansas, was hired to replace the inferior and improperly installed shingles during July and August of 2009.
After much discussion, planning, and fundraising, an air conditioning system was installed by Glassman Coroporation of Hays, Kansas, and was up and running by May of 2008. Once again parishioner and tourist contributions made this $357,000 project possible.
During the first week of March 2009, the sound system was once again updated, this time by MSM Systems, Inc. out of Lawrence, Kansas. Two 6' speakers attached to the pillars in the sanctuary replaced the need for most of the small white speakers that hung from every pillar in the church.
Starting in March 2011, J Corp of Hays, Kansas, replaced the north parking lot with cement, as well as replacing the west plaza cement. The project was completed in June 2011, just in time for the August 2011 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the construction and dedication of the current St. Fidelis Church.
Verlin Hammerschmidt of Victoria remodeled a confessional in the south transept at the front of the church. It was redesigned to diocesan standards and resembles a small chapel. McCarter Painting of Victoria textured and painted the confessional.
Several times from 2012 to 2018, McCarter Painting has plastered and painted cracks in the ceiling and walls of the church. This seems to be a never-ending project.
In August of 2013, Wildenborg Stained Glass Restoration, Inc., of Rogers Arkansas, removed the old yellowed Lexan polycarbonate panels that covered the stained glass windows of the church. They installed new clear tempered glass, often referred to as safety glass, that is five times stronger than standard glass which is not supposed to yellow. An "Adopt-a-Window" program was begun, with the cost for the new coverings ranging from around $3,760 for the larger windows to $1,467 for smaller windows. The covering for the rose window in the choir loft was priced at $13,412. The total cost was $155,202.
And the upkeep of "The Cathedral of the Plains" continues. . . .