By Paul Paproski, OSB
The Prairie Messenger
MUENSTER, Sask. (CCN)
The staff of St. Peter's College has only one major hurdle to overcome to bring the renovations of Michael Hall, the college building, to an end -- namely, completing the fundraising to pay for the final renovation costs, which are close to $4 million. The success of the open house at the college Sept. 14 showed that goal can be reached, as there was much enthusiasm and support for the college. The public still considers St. Peter's College to be an important part of the local district and larger community, according to Robert Harasymchuk, college president.
"Fundraising is a necessary element of St. Peter's success. The Michael Hall renovations have necessitated financing that we hope will be supported through the generosity of our alumni and the community that supports and depends on St. Peter's as a hub for sport, culture, recreation and of course learning," he said. "We are continually seeking ways to improve and expand our programs and services and this is possible with the help of our college supporters."
Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, chancellor of the college, cut the ribbon to officially re-open Michael Hall after four years of renovations which cost $15 million. The renovations began as a dream 10 years ago, he remarked. He expressed his appreciation to everyone who contributed. More than 100 attended the open house and ribbon cutting. They took part in tours of Michael Hall where they viewed displays of student art, science exhibits and alumni memorabilia.
"A number of the alumni commented on the amazing transformation that Michael Hall has undergone," Harasymchuk said in an interview. "Although the building looked new in appearance, they said it still had the same 'feel,' a testament to the talent of architect Maurice Soloudre in blending the need for modern conveniences while maintaining the tradition and heritage of the building. We also heard some remarks that although many people knew it was a huge undertaking for the college, the renovations were worth it to know that students would benefit from the college for decades to come."
Renovations affected every floor of Michael Hall, which was gutted, rebuilt and refurbished with new floors, walls, doors, lighting and windows. Doorway entrances were widened, bathrooms upgraded, and wiring brought up to standard to enable information technology systems to be used. There are three new science labs on the basement floor. Students can study and visit in a lounge and recreation room, and exercise in a modern fitness centre. One of the most noticeable changes is the new elevator and shaft, an addition to the west side of the building.
Renovations were made possible through the federal Knowledge Infrastructure grant program, the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education, donations from alumni and others who gave through to the capital campaign. Miners Construction was the project manager. Support was provided by the college board of governors and the monks of St. Peter's Abbey.
Work is in progress to develop new courses and programs at St. Peter's College to help meet the ongoing educational needs of the public. The college is investigating affordable lodging for residential students. The college presently offers classes in arts and science, business/commerce, agriculture and kinesiology, to fulfil the entry requirements to colleges such as Dentistry, Medicine, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Nursing, Vet-Medicine, Law and Education, or to complete the college's innovative writing diploma program.