Fieldhouse expansion among many construction projects planned on campus



fieldhouseexpansionAs the fall semester ends, many building projects are on the horizon for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s campus, including the Finnegan Fieldhouse completion and the building of a new chapel.

David Schmiesing, vice president of Franciscan University Student Life, detailed upcoming building projects on Oct. 23 at the close of the weekly, public Student Government meeting.

As most students and visitors on campus have noticed, the Fieldhouse expansion project is nearing its completion. This project averaged roughly $5 million.

The expansion will include a new 5,000-square-foot fitness and cardio room, locker rooms, athletic training area, NCAA conference room, sauna rooms and new office space.

The second floor will temporarily remain unfinished due to insufficient funding. In the future it will be completed to house an aerobics room, classrooms, more office space for the athletic department and meeting rooms. More fundraising will be pursued before the completion of the second floor.

There have been mixed emotions from students on campus concerning the Fieldhouse building project, especially from student athletes.

“It is pretty exciting,” said Molly Clarahan, a member of Franciscan’s softball team. “I am in the training room a lot and I think that the student trainers deserve a place to work and to help our student athletes out. The construction can be frustrating sometimes, but I think that in the end it will be worth the pain.”

Other student athletes are having trouble adjusting to the limited training space.

“It is just frustrating that the weight room is moved,” said Jack Bruce, who plays tennis for Franciscan. “It is good that it will be done in the next year, but many people are upset that we can’t use it right now.”

The official finish date for the Finnegan Fieldhouse addition project is April 1, 2014. Schmiesing projected that some parts will be completed in February, but he said it will certainly be finished before the end of the spring semester.

During his inauguration speech on Oct. 10, Franciscan University’s new president the Rev. Sean Sheridan, TOR, committed to building a new chapel to replace Christ the King Chapel. Preparation for fundraising has begun and the board of trustees approved initial plans to build a new chapel at its October meeting, said Schmiesing.

The current plan is to build a chapel much larger than the current one in order to accommodate more students, particularly the Sunday Mass crowd. The new chapel will be located uphill near the Assisi Heights, requiring the main road to be moved, and resulting in the potential demolition of a few Assisi Heights apartments.

The project is estimated to cost between $12 million to $15 million and it will be an estimated five to six years before the project’s completion, if funds are raised quickly. No design has been finalized, but drawings will be presented to the board this academic year.

Ground will be broken once the funds are raised and the Finnegan Fieldhouse addition is completed.

The fate of the current chapel is undecided, but it will most likely be used as a meeting place for students to host concerts and speakers, as well as offices for faculty and staff members.

“I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like,” said Theresa DeCelle. “I’m glad Christ the King Chapel isn’t going anywhere, its part of the campus and it’s been here for a long time.”

Another student, Maria Wendt said, “The chapel now is very ugly. We’re worshiping in a cardboard box. It needs to be bigger and should be more traditional and awe-inspiring. I want it to be traditional with beautiful windows and Stations of the Cross.”

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