MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The beloved chapel at the University of St. Thomas is getting a 21st Century architectural addition, one that will house a new spiritual center for the St. Paul campus and shine a new light on the building’s classic design.

The new addition to the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas will be a 23,000 square foot underground renovation, with glass roofs luminously extending out into the university’s popular quad lawns, the Catholic liberal arts college announced Thursday.

The space will be called the Iversen Center for Faith, after the Al and Brenda Iversen, the project’s main benefactors. The project is expected to cost $12.7 million, with most funds coming from donations. So far, the university has raised more than $11 million.

The new underground structure will house a multi-faith meditation room, a sacred arts gallery, a multi-purpose gathering room, and expanded facilities for brides and grooms for the chapel’s many wedding ceremonies. There’ll also be an outdoor amphitheater.

The original chapel was designed by Emmanuel Masqueray, the architect who also designed the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Construction on the Iversen Center for Faith is expected to begin in the spring.

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