Construction, Higher Education, and Real Estate

College builds $4M chapel

June 23, 2016
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Aquinas College Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel rendering
A rendering of the 7,200-square-foot chapel, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, being built on the Aquinas College campus. Courtesy Aquinas College

A college is breaking ground on a new $4-million chapel today.

Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a Catholic liberal arts school, said yesterday that it will officially begin construction on Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, at the intersection of Wege Way and Elderberry Lane.

The 7,200-square-foot chapel will accommodate the expanding needs of the college, which is underserved by Bukowski Chapel, which often is at capacity for Sunday Mass.

It is expected to be finished next August.

The chapel was designed in the Dominican tradition by JNKA Architects, a Park Ridge, Illinois-based firm that specializes in churches and the needs of faith-based communities.

Construction will be completed by Ada-based Erhardt Construction.

The chapel

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel will be the first building in Aquinas’ 129-year history to be specifically constructed as a chapel.

It will seat 300 parishioners and be open daily for students, faculty, staff and the community, as well as provide adequate space for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, other liturgies and large alumni weddings, which are underserved by Bukowski Chapel.

In addition to the primary worship space, the chapel will have a separate prayer room, meeting space, sanctuary and reconciliation room.

The chapel will be purposefully located at the heart of campus and offer “a serene respite for worship, contemplation and private reflection.”

“We have a vibrant faith community that enriches the lives of our students, faculty and staff on campus,” Aquinas College President Juan Olivarez said. “Our chapel is the centerpiece of that ministry.” 

The chapel’s name, our Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, is "meant to reflect Mary as the mother of Christ, the source of all wisdom,” said Sister Maureen Geary, O.P., prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids.

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