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St. Paul Catholic Student Center offers balance Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Fr. Eric Nielsen, pastor, presents the proposal for St. Paul Catholic Student Center

Fr. Eric Nielsen, pastor of St. Paul's University Catholic Center in Madison, presents the new proposal for the St. Paul Catholic Student Center and Residential College at a press conference Oct. 25. (Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner)

MADISON -- Ground could be broken for the new St. Paul Catholic Student Center and Residential College at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in two to three years, said Fr. Eric Nielsen, pastor of St. Paul's University Catholic Center, at a press conference held October 25 at the current center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The new building, which was unveiled at the press conference, would replace the current chapel and offices. The current facility was built in 1909 and renovated in 1967, but parts of the center date back to the late 1800s.

"Our current building is severely outdated, extremely cramped, and in need of major upgrades," Father Nielsen said at the press conference.

The design of the project, which has been updated since it was revealed in April, must be approved by city officials before work can begin. Father Nielsen said that the plans have been sent to the Madison Landmarks Commission for approval.

MADISON -- Ground could be broken for the new St. Paul Catholic Student Center and Residential College at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in two to three years, said Fr. Eric Nielsen, pastor of St. Paul's University Catholic Center, at a press conference held October 25 at the current center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Rendering of St. Paul's Catholic Student Center

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For more information:

To learn more about the project or to provide support, visit www.uwcatholic.org or contact St. Paul's director of development, Scott Hackl, 608-258-3140.

The new building, which was unveiled at the press conference, would replace the current chapel and offices. The current facility was built in 1909 and renovated in 1967, but parts of the center date back to the late 1800s.

"Our current building is severely outdated, extremely cramped, and in need of major upgrades," Father Nielsen said at the press conference.

The design of the project, which has been updated since it was revealed in April, must be approved by city officials before work can begin. Father Nielsen said that the plans have been sent to the Madison Landmarks Commission for approval.

The 14-story building would combine a student residential center with worship space. A multilevel chapel, which would seat between 400 and 600, would provide a base for offices, gathering spaces, and apartments.

"Today's college students are challenged more than ever before," said Scott Hackl, director of development for St. Paul's. "They face increasing academic, societal, and intellectual demands and pressure, and they're more focused on balance. The residential college atmosphere at this new St. Paul's will offer that balance."

Development has been a collaborative effort between St. Paul's, the students, and community, Hackl said.

During construction, Masses would be hopefully moved to other churches in the area, Father Nielsen said. As well, programs offered by Badger Catholic, the UW Catholic student organization, would continue for the students, albeit in other locations.

"We would try to continue every program we have," Father Nielsen said with a smile. "We'd become a virtual community."

Two students, UW engineering student Luke Syse, St. Paul's University Catholic Foundation board member, and UW French student Madeline Gibson, also spoke at the press conference in favor of the new building. Both spoke of their experiences at St. Paul's and the advantages and opportunities a new building could offer, appealing to the community for support.

A new building would be highly valued by the hundreds of students who use it, said Gibson. "We're asking everyone interested in supporting this project to help make it a home for students."

Those interested in learning more about the project or how to provide support can visit www.uwcatholic.org or contact St. Paul's development director Scott Hackl.

 
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