Seminarians returning to renovated campus

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org
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Seminarians and staff of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary are headed back to their campus in Shrewsbury as the newly renovated building reopens for the upcoming semester.

The seminary community had moved temporarily to the former Franciscan Sisters of Mary Convent in Richmond Heights, shortening the duration of the project and saving costs. Washington University provided classroom space at the former CBC High School, and Concordia Seminary permitted students to park on and use their campus.

Seminarians will move their belongings into the Shrewsbury building after they finish their exams this semester. When they return after Christmas break, they will move directly into the building.

While pledges to the successful Faith for the Future campaign paid for the renovation and enhanced the endowment, the Seminary Christmas Appeal and annual Seminary Christmas Collection have for generations provided resources for vital operational and educational needs throughout the academic year.

Second-year theology student Daniel Kavanaugh of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Washington said that after speaking about the seminary appeal for the first time in 2009 at Immaculate Conception Church in Union, parishioners came up to him with words of support. Visiting the parishes to talk about the collection "is an experience that brings a lot of joy and support to my own discernment," Kavanaugh said. "I have been blessed with very supportive family and friends, but it means something different when someone whom you've never met comes up and expresses what it means to them to have priests in their lives."

Kavanaugh said he is "going back to a place that has such a rich history of forming the men who have ministered to the Church for the last 80 years. When I first started my studies at Kenrick-Glennon in pre-theology back in the fall of 2009, I remember how run-down the building was when I moved in; despite that though, everyone knew how to keep it functioning day to day despite having pieces of the wall falling into their rooms or the sinks backing up. I, along with the other seminarians were overwhelmed to see all of the support that the members of the archdiocese showed ... . It was another example of the people's love for their priests and those who are preparing to lay down their lives and become priests."

Faculty and staff will move between Christmas and New Years. The finishing touches, including furniture, are being completed now.

Open houses will be held in the afternoon on March 2 and March 16.

Significant needs have been addressed regarding the seminary building's infrastructure, with new plumbing, heating and cooling systems, improved kitchen facilities and enhanced technology systems.

Currently, there are 108 seminarians enrolled, and the seminary expects an increase next year. The renovated building can accommodate 141 seminarians in private rooms, a 30 percent increase from current enrollment.

Several efficiencies have been introduced to reduce ongoing operational expenses at the seminary. The new windows and climate control system will decrease the energy usage in the building. Landscaping solutions were implemented to reduce the amount of time and money spent mowing the lawn. A new water main was installed to minimize ongoing issues with the plumbing.

A new recreational facility was included in the work. The former power plant provides a place for seminarians to enhance their fraternity. This building includes a workout facility to encourage attentiveness to physical well-being and healthy habits.

An expansion on the eastern side of the building provides offices and meeting space for the faculty. The rooftop of this new wing holds an indoor/outdoor dining area for community use. The library has nearly doubled in size. Improvements to the layout, technology and lighting have made the library more conducive to private and group study.

New elevators, wheelchair ramps, and lifts have increased accessibility for disabled seminarians and others. Security measures, including a card access systems and new fencing, were incorporated in the project.

Third-year theology student David Hogan of Incarnate Word Parish in Chesterfield said that the lay faithful demand men of God, properly equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The now-state-of-the-art facilities "undeniably demonstrates God's generosity and love. It is with great joy and eager expectation that I look forward to returning to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary to pursue sanctity in an educationally rich environment geared toward virtue and the Gospel Truth," he said.

Kenrick-Glennon

To support Kenrick-Glennon Seminary's ongoing operations:

• Contribute to the Christmas collection:

• Send a check directly to the seminary at 5200 Glennon Drive, 63119

• Make a donation online at

www.kenrick.edu/support.

To learn more about events and activities at the seminary, subscribe to the enewsletter at www.kenrick.edu or send an email to communications@kenrick.edu. 

Details on the areas of renovation were provided by Kenrick-Glennon.

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