Construction of Loyola Chapel and Jesuit Center Begins

NEW ORLEANS — Construction has begun on the Chapel of St. Ignatius and the Gayle and Tom Benson Jesuit Center. Due to be complete in fall 2023, the facility is designed to provide a “spiritual place at the heart of campus that is open and welcoming to all.”

The $6 million project, funded entirely by donors, was launched with a lead gift of $4.8 million from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation.

The school said the location and design were selected to preserve as much as possible of the sightlines and green space that students and faculty grew to love after the old library was demolished in 2015 to pave the way for the project.

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The finished structure will be a “small, light-filled, modern building tucked in close to Monroe Hall, and it will be round to facilitate foot traffic,” said a spokesperson. “Most of the quad will be preserved, and native plantings and artwork by local artists will beautify the space.”

Pile driving began on Aug. 8, and is expected to be completed by the end of the month. After that is complete, work will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with some potential Saturday work.

The school said the end result “will be a beautiful work of art for all to enjoy, a place of spiritual respite for people of all faiths, and a dedicated gathering space for the university community.”

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Located on a quad outside Loyola’s Monroe Hall, the new 7,000-square-foot space was designed by Trahan Architects, the New Orleans- and New York-based firm that is currently leading interior renovations of the Superdome. The Tobler Company will guide the project through build and closeout. 

“We are building this because the chapel is a crucial part of the strategic vision of our university,” said Vice President of University Advancement Chris Wiseman. “Committed to our Catholic mission and the treasures of Ignatian spirituality, we want a campus that ‘speaks’ our faith with its use of architecture and design. We believe this project accomplishes that.  We believe creating this space will add to the daily lives of our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community.

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