LRU News

L-R breaks ground on new chapel

Mon Mar 25 2013

From left to right: Charles M. Snipes (Chair of Board of Trustees), Rosa Reyes ’13 (Student Government President), Dr. Wayne B. Powell (President) The Reverend Dr. Andrew Weisner (University Pastor)

$4.6 million chapel to be completed in 14 months

Its peaked roof will soar more than 56 feet in the air at its highest point; a rose window 12 feet across will illuminate the altar; it will stand in the heart of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s campus as testament to the school’s Lutheran foundation.

For 50 years the L-R community has wanted a grand and elegant chapel. On Friday afternoon the university took a giant step toward realizing that dream with a groundbreaking ceremony held to kick off the construction of the school’s newest, and most sacred building project. It’s going to cost $4.6 million to build the chapel – that includes a pipe organ, furnishings and a piano. And it’s going to take about 14 months to complete the project.  The new chapel will focus on serving the needs of L-R’s students and faculty, but it will also serve the Hickory community.

Right now L-R’s weekly chapel service, which is open to the public, is held in the school’s music building. The new chapel will be the new venue for the services upon its completion. The new chapel will seat 350, but seating can also be expanded to 450 if larger crowds are expected, said L-R President Dr. Wayne Powell.  The additional seating may be required for seasonal music programs and other events the public will be invited to attend.  It will be available for spiritual activities for everyone in the community,” Powell said.

While some may look at the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church just a few hundred yards southwest of the new chapel’s location and wonder why L-R needs two churches, Powell made it clear that St. Andrews is an independent church and is not owned by the university.  Though church does allow the school to use its building for its opening convocation and some other special services Powell is looking forward to the time when L-R will have a space for these events all its own.  “The presence of this chapel will be a symbol to all as to who we are at Lenoir-Rhyne as a university of the church,” said L-R’s Campus Pastor Dr. Andrew Weisner.

Though the university is in the fundraising phase for several building projects – including a new wing for the science building – the money for the chapel came together quickly after a lead gift of $1.5 million from an anonymous donor, Powell said. As for the other projects, L-R has raised $52 million of the $65 million it needs to complete them.

L-R chose a local construction contractor, David E. Looper and Company, to build the chapel. Looper is known for several buildings in the Hickory area including Viewmont Baptist Church and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.  Raleigh architectural firm Clark Patterson Lee designed the chapel.

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