Synthetic Slate Tops St. Catherine of Siena

The campus of St. Catherine of Siena in Wichita, Kansas, is now complete. The addition of a new church sanctuary and adoration chapel connect all the structures on the Roman Catholic church grounds. Twin metal steeples, with their five bells, attract long-distance attention to the church. However, once at the church, it’s the synthetic slate material atop the new buildings that captures interest.

“We chose the DaVinci Roofscapes slate product in Slate Gray for its beauty, durability and lightweight aspects,” says Greg Tice, AIA, partner at Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture. “We needed a material that allowed us to keep our structural design costs and product weight lower than using real slate. Our firm has specified DaVinci products on other projects for similar reasons. The product is reliable, aesthetically pleasing, and has long-lasting value.”

Challenging Roof Design

The innovative 30,300-square-foot St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church is part of the Wichita Diocese, first established in 1887. Now, the newly constructed facility includes the sanctuary, commons area, four classrooms, a gymnasium, kitchen and office space.

Undoubtedly, the two matching 125-foot-tall bell towers draw attention to the church. And, when you’re lucky to be nearby during the ringing of the bells, you’re in for a treat. There are four bells in the south tower, in sizes ranging from 150 to 250 to 500 to 1000 pounds. In the north tower there is a single bell that weighs 2,000 pounds. They were all installed on June 30, 2020.

At St. Catherine of Siena, DaVinci Single-Width Slate was installed on the main roof, while DaVinci Multi-Width Slate was used on the curved roof of the Adoration Chapel. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

While the bell towers may draw the eye and ear to skies surrounding the church campus, it’s the new Adoration Chapel that is getting attention on the ground. The two-story circular entry has a curved appearance. The area is used for 24-hour prayers.

“Roofing this structure was especially challenging,” says Tice. “The main roof of the church has a 5:12 slope. Then the Adoration Chapel has the rounded appearance, which was challenging to accomplish.”

“The contractor was able to roof this rounded area without using premade shapes,” Tice continues. “They cut the DaVinci shingles on site. This proved to be the most economical and aesthetically pleasing solution.”

The team tackling the roofing of the new structures was from Douglas Fry Roofing. According to James Fry, president of the company, he started estimating and bidding the process in January of 2018. The actual work started in October of that year. After that it lasted until December of 2020.

“We do many projects with DaVinci synthetic slate materials,” says Fry. “For this one, DaVinci Single-Width Slate was installed on the main church structure. After that, DaVinci Multi-Width Slate was used on the Adoration Chapel. The multi-width profile of the product looked better on the curved roof. The higher up you go, the smaller sized shingles are needed to make the structure look uniform.”

Juggling to Meet Building Demands

Due to the size of the building and timeframe of construction, there were many challenges with this project. Because the building is constructed of steel, the Fry Roofing team had to install 4-inch ISO insulation with 5/8-inch OSB attached. After that, it was screwed to the steel deck.

“Part of the building was constructed before winter and dried in,” says Fry. “The other parts had to wait for the masonry work to be completed before being built. Basically, we had to wait on other trades to get their work done. Then we were able to install the decking and shingles. This happened section by section.”

Now complete, the St. Catherine of Siena sanctuary can seat 1,200 parishioners. The Neo-Romanesque design and cruciform configuration represent the traditions and history of the Catholic faith.

“We are very pleased with how this project turned out,” says Tice. “On the exterior, we’re especially satisfied that the DaVinci products were able to be used so successfully on both the main and curved portions of the roofs. It’s successful projects like this that will keep us specifying DaVinci products on our future projects.”


Architect: Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture, Wichita, Kansas,

Roofing Contractor: Douglas Fry Roofing, Wichita, Kansas,


Composite Slate: Single-Width Slate and Multi-Width Slate, DaVinci Roofscapes,

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