Newman Center Plans $21.5 Expansion
What started as the first religious club on campus has announced its plans to grow via a multi-million dollar project, with church doors opening as early as 2020.
The St. Paul’s Newman Center unveiled a pledge drive to the public Saturday night that hopes to raise an additional $12 million by 2018. Donors have already pledged $9 million to the expansion.
Church leaders made the announcement at a banquet at the Ramada in downtown Fargo.
James Cheney, the campus chapel’s priest, called this project the “biggest event in the history of the Newman Center.”
Growing to keep up
In 1928, North Dakota Agricultural College had almost 1,300 students on campus. Of that population, 36 formed the Catholic Students Club.
Today, North Dakota State University has 14,432 students and the Newman Center serves more than 100 campus Catholics.
“Let’s build upon this success,” said Cheney, the 14th director in the history of the Newman Center.
This project, which church officials have dubbed #MoveNewmanForward, wouldn’t be the first time the chapel rebuilt itself.
The first EF-5 tornado ever recorded destroyed the student club’s first permanent home in 1957. From the insurance, church leaders began building the chapel that stands today.
Cheney said the building has seen better days, calling it “an asbestos bomb that’s run its life cycle,” with a laugh.
Tyler Losinski, a computer science major and the Newman Center’s Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, said the chapel is “in desperate need of an upgrade.”
The proposed 70,000-square foot expansion would take up the entire block where the current Newman Center stands, on the corner of 12th Avenue North and University Drive. It would include larger chapel and a faith-based housing complex called Roers Hall.
Jim and Sandra Roers were recognized Saturday after pledging a $3 million donation to the project. Jim Roers runs Roers Development and is seeking reelection in the North Dakota Senate.
Cheney said the expansion will provide a “physical and emotional safe space” where it’s “OK to be a Christian.”
For more reaction, read on at The Spectrum.