VU to discuss plans for chapel addition

2013-04-21T23:15:00Z 2013-04-22T09:46:06Z VU to discuss plans for chapel additionPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | Now that the renovation of the historic Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection is complete, plans for a major addition to it are ramping up.

The preliminary plans will be presented to Valparaiso's Site Review Committee on Tuesday, but Pastor Brian Johnson, executive director of campus ministries, said it hasn't been decided if the groundbreaking will be this fall or next spring.

"It hasn't been formally approved by the university, but we are in the process and we've been meeting with the architect for over a year," Johnson said. "They did a thorough assessment of the needs of the whole ministries, including the chapel, the center for church and community relations, the institute for leadership and service and the church vocations program."

He said the addition will have offices for about a dozen people, which will bring together staff who have been working at different places across the campus into one office suite. Although the details are still being worked out, the addition will include conference rooms, a hospitality area, multipurpose space and a music room.

"Part of the university's strategic plan is to deepen the Lutheran identification of the institution, and one of the ways to do that is to bring these folks together," Johnson said. "One of the working principles for the design is the relations of the church and the world. The design will try to address what that relationship will look like."

He said the architects, Nagle Hartray, of Chicago, have done designs of additions to historic, mid-century buildings like the chapel, which was completed in 1959. Johnson said it was built without any offices because the people who served the chapel were administration and faculty members who had other offices.

"The issue of creating an addition to a historic and iconic building is something we take seriously and carefully," he said.

Funding for the project is coming from a $15 million gift from university alumni Mark and Kathy Helge. The money also paid for the renovation of the chapel, and Johnson didn't know how much was available for the addition. Construction is expected to take about a year.

"It's just an exciting time to look at a vision of the future that is being articulated in the new building," he said. "It's not about the building, but the programs happening in it. We are looking forward to having the space to do that." 

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