Built in 1860, Mount Calvary St. Lawrence Seminary has been through a lot of changes.
Over the past three years alone the campus has endured a fire and four renovation projects.
It all started with St. Anthony Hall, which houses the freshman and sophomores. In December 2013, the dorm was closed to begin the largest renovation project on campus in over three decades. It was a massive undertaking, over eight months, with crews working to have the project complete by the 2014-’15 school year.
The entire building was gutted. Electrical, plumbing, windows, and floors were replaced, four resident supervisor suites were installed, an elevator was added, and the lower level was redone to include a new recreational area. Approximately 3,000 square feet were added onto the west end of the building. Emphasis went into energy efficiency and emergency features, such as a state-of-the-art sprinkler system.
St. Anthony Hall’s renovation was under way when tragedy struck. On Saturday, March 8, 2014, a fire broke out in St. Joseph Hall, the oldest building on campus. In its 142 years, St. Joseph Hall had served many purposes. It had been a dormitory, chapel, infirmary, and was then serving as the band/choir rooms, classrooms, offices, and the student bank. This unexpected loss was met with generous support from the community, benefactors, and alumni.
With the completion of St. Anthony Hall the plan was to focus on renovating St. Mary Hall and that began in December 2014. Construction teams pushed hard during the spring and summer to complete the remodel and 13,000 square foot expansion by the time the students returned for the 2015-’16 school year. This allowed for a modernized kitchen, infirmary, conference rooms, dining room, and study hall, as well as an expanded junior dormitory and a new Development Office.
March 8, 2015, a year to the date of the fire, we broke ground on the new St. Joseph Hall. The new building will be roughly 4,000 square feet larger than the old one. It will consist of a welcome center, a Benefactor’s Recognition Room, classrooms, and offices. The new campus plan centralizes all the classrooms. Though the oldest building on campus was lost, the history in the new building will be present, as there will be a Heritage Room to display our history.
St. Thomas Hall originally served the auditorium and gymnasium. Over the years it has been repurposed to house the woodshop, art studio, student publication office, and a classroom. After the fire the Development Office moved in until St. Mary Hall was completed. And yet again, it is being repurposed to give the music program an elegant and acoustically ideal setting, as the music and band classrooms were consumed by the fire. The building will have a new façade to complement the neighboring St. Joseph Hall and St. Anthony Hall.
We are beyond grateful to have such opportunities and blessings. None of this would be possible without the generous support of our benefactors and alumni. We look forward to the future and to being around another 156 years.