IWU to build $20M chapel for ‘gathering’ space

Posted on Wed, Apr. 04, 2007

It will be largest auditorium in east-central Indiana.

From The Associated Press

MARION – Indiana Wesleyan University plans to build a $20 million chapel
that will make it one of the largest auditoriums in east-central
Indiana, officials said.

The chapel, which would seat 3,800 people, would be the private,
Christian university's most expensive single construction project to
date, officials said.

It would hold a few hundred more people than Emens Auditorium at Ball
State University and more than twice as many as the largest auditoriums
in Grant County.

"We're excited," Brendan Bowen, IWU vice president for operations, said
during Monday's announcement. "We think it's a wonderful addition to
campus and the Marion community."

Construction will start in spring 2008 and is expected to be completed
by August 2009. Several one-story dormitories will be torn down to make
room for the building.

Bowen said the current site for the school's chapel services, the
1,200-seat Phillippe Performing Arts Center, is already past capacity,
even with two services held three times a week.

"One of the simple tenets of the university life is our chapel program,"
Bowen said. "As such, we want all of the students to be in attendance."
Indiana Wesleyan was founded in 1920 as an evangelical Christian liberal
arts college. About 2,500 students attend the school's main campus in
Marion, about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Wesleyan also
offers classes at centers in five Indiana cities, along with three in
Ohio and one in Kentucky.

The new chapel will allow more family and friends to attend graduation
ceremonies, which are held at the 2,500-seat Luckey Gym, said university
spokesman Alan Miller.

"As the university gets bigger, we need more gathering space," he said.
The chapel also will be used for other university and community events,
Bowen said, such as concerts and seminars. Bowen said he expects it will
bring in new, larger acts that wouldn't have come to Marion otherwise.


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