The Opus Group (Opus) announced today the start of construction of the University of St. Thomas’ Iversen Center for Faith, an expansion of the 100-year-old Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the St. Paul campus.
The Iversen Center for Faith is a 25,000-square-foot, multi-faith worship center built into the foundation and surrounding grounds of the existing chapel. The work will preserve the iconic architecture and footprint of the chapel while updating and expanding the space to better support students of all faiths, campus ministry and special events. The building will include campus ministry offices, a bridal suite and groom suite, new restroom facilities and an elevator to improve handicap accessibility in the chapel.
“We are excited to support the University of St. Thomas in the renovation and enhancement of this important landmark that has graced the campus for a century,” said Jeff Mertens, senior project manager at Opus. “We recognize the significance of the chapel to the university and the core of its function: to bring students, faculty and the community together in worship. We’re proud of the design of the chapel’s new addition, which strives to uphold the rich traditions of the university while creating a functional and complimentary space for future needs.”\
The Iversen Center for Faith will include a large space for special events, including wedding receptions and funeral luncheons, and a new location for alumni and other guests of the university to host on-campus gatherings. The space will hold up to 300 guests for a seated dinner and can be partitioned into three smaller conference-style rooms. Additionally, a sacred art gallery, a multi-faith meditation room and two outdoor gathering areas will be created. A long corridor extending from the north to south ends of the building will include a pedestrian pathway with skylights that will connect the Chapel via underground tunnel to Murray Herrick Hall and the planned first-year dorm.
The addition will primarily be constructed of glass and architectural precast accents to emulate the chapel’s Indiana limestone exterior. It will be open for use in February 2020 with final landscaping and site work completing in July 2020.
“The chapel’s aesthetic and historical significance is profound and personal to our community. This renovation will preserve the original structure while creating gathering spaces that are welcoming, functional and accessible for today’s users,” said Dr. Victoria Young, University of St. Thomas art history program chair and a member of the project planning team.
The chapel will be closed from May 6 to August 28, 2019, for the renovation and remodel of the chapel’s interior. Opus is leading the interior remodel, including upgrading light fixtures, painting and replacing pews.
Opus has a long history with the University of St. Thomas, including the recent construction of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex,Anderson Student Center and the renovation of Murray Herrick Hall. This project is rich with opportunities for Opus to leverage its unique design-build model. See how and follow along for updates at opus-group.com/Iversen-Center-for-Faith.
Opus is the design-builder, the architect and engineer of record, and interior designer on this project.