Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 12, 2007
Seminary, Newman get new campus on city’s east side
New buildings going to ‘a magnificent site,’ says archbishop
By GLEN ARGAN
- Archbishop Richard Smith
“This is going to be a showpiece. This is going to be a real piece of beauty.”
The two institutions will move from their current location on Mark Messier Trail near St. Albert to avoid having Anthony Henday Drive disturb the tranquility of the seminary.
The Edmonton Archdiocese sold the 39.4-acre property to the provincial government for $42.4 million in a deal announced in August.
Smith said the Pastoral Centre site was chosen over other possibilities for two reasons. First, the archdiocese already owns the site. "We don't have the money to buy land elsewhere."
Second, "The land we have here is magnificent land." It will provide an opportunity to enhance the status of both institutions.
The site is located at the top of 98th Avenue hill at 84th Street and has ready access to river valley trails and downtown. As the archbishop noted, it can be viewed from miles away across the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
No date has been set for construction to begin. Smith said he wants there to be wide public consultation on the design of the buildings first.
The archdiocese will also have to seek rezoning of the site from the city to accommodate the college and seminary.
There is still hope that the new seminary building will be open by September 2009, but the archdiocese is considering the possibility that temporary facilities will be needed while construction proceeds, he said.
"We can't afford to dally with this," he said. "At the same time, we cannot afford to take shortcuts."
Smith and others involved with the project have toured some American seminaries to learn what to do and what to avoid in the project.
Plans are to make the two buildings environmentally friendly - "to make these green buildings with everything that means," he said.
Smith told the WCR that he believes the project can be carried out within the $42.4 million the Church will receive from the sale of the current site.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity donated the Pastoral Centre site to the archdiocese about 20 years ago.
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