The third phase of renovations to Dahlgren Chapel, scheduled to be completed this summer, will shift inside to focus on the worship space’s interior.
Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC, the firm leading the interior renovation, presented the latest phase to students, faculty and alumni in the chapel Thursday. Major changes include moving the organ to the front of the church and increasing the total seating capacity from 270 to 325. The aesthetic of Dahlgren Chapel is not expected to change significantly, though lighting improvements, painting and sound updates are intended to enhance the worship experience.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., said that design plans also include adding new chairs. The chapel will be distinguishable from a church because of the wooden chairs with kneelers attached to the row in front of them, as opposed to pews, according to O’Brien.
“To maintain the appearance of the chapel we made the decision to keep chairs,” he said.
Other changes to the interior will include the relocation of the baptismal font to the entrance and the addition of Stations of the Cross to the sides of the chapel. Students in attendance noted that a credence table was still needed. Some suggested changes, such as the addition of a confessional, were not included.
The renovation is scheduled to be completed over the summer so that students can use the space for the remainder of the semester. During the summer renovations, mass will be held at an alternate location on campus.
Phases one and two of the renovation process included fixing the foundation of the building and cleaning the stained glass windows. An opaque protective glass formerly covered the windows. The renovations replaced the opaque glass with a transparent protective glass that allows light to filter in through the colorful windows.
Overall, the Francis (F ’77) and Kathleen Rooney (C ’75) Foundation’s $6 million gift carried the project through its subterranean stages. Phase three will cost approximately $2.5 to $3 million, including $1 million for moving and renovating the organ. So far, the project has stayed on schedule, according to O’Brien.
Kevin Sullivan (COL ’14), who attended the open meeting Thursday, is happy to see that a variety of factors affecting students, faculty and staff have been taken into consideration through the renovation process.
“It’s the central space on campus so seeing seating increased is good.” he said.
When the third phase of the renovation is completed, the only remaining step will be to finalize designaesthetics.