Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 27, 2007
Newman, seminary bound for new site
Land sale to province will launch new era for key institutions
By RAMON GONZALEZ
The sense of peace and tranquility that the college and seminary require to function properly could have never happened with a major highway going next door, commented Smith.
"So I'm thoroughly convinced of the necessity of a move like this and at the same time I'm very excited about this. This is an opportunity for us to relocate, to build again and in this way to ensure the future of these institutions. And to have this opportunity is a real blessing from God."
Newman President Bryn Kulmatycki is equally up-beat, saying the sale will ensure the continued development of the college and present opportunities for growth and enhancement.
"I think it's a good opportunity to re-evaluate our mission and improve even on what we are doing."
Kulmatycki said college staff is excited at the prospect of a new facility and they are eager to get on with the relocation plans as soon as they are established.
"The prospect of being located so close to a major transportation corridor was simply incompatible with our need for peace and study and quiet reflection," he said. Between 400 and 450 part- and full-time students attend the college each year.
Several religious and historical artifacts will be moved, including a large statue of Jesus near the entrance and a collection of stained glass windows from the college chapel.
"It is not as if we are going to leave everything behind and go," Kulmatycki said. "We'll take everything with us."
Where the institutions will be relocated is still up in the air, although media reports have said the archdiocese has reviewed at least two locations - the Catholic Pastoral Centre grounds and a spot near the White Spruce Forest in St. Albert.
"I think it'll be excellent for the seminary and the college; there's no two ways about it."
The Pastoral Centre grounds are only 19 acres and already include several buildings.
One report says the Edmonton location is considered the front-runner largely because the archdiocese owns the land and moving there would centralize Church institutions on one site.
Smith would not confirm the reports but said extensive efforts are underway for the transition to new premises, which will be announced by late fall.
"At this stage really I think in fairness to anybody that we may be in dialogue with we are holding off on any kind of public speculation," he said. "We are not making any announcements as to where the new site might be until all the plans are finalized (and) all the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place."
The province and the archdiocese have been talking about the Henday ring road alignment since late 2005. An agreement was finalized Aug. 7.
The sale of the college and seminary opens the door for the province to begin developing the northwestern quadrant of the ring road. Construction is to begin next fall and wrap up in 2011.
Smith said the $42.4 million the archdiocese will receive from the sale should be enough to rebuild both institutions.
"The advice that I've received is that this should enable us to do it," he said.
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