College plans $4M chapel


A rendering of the 7,200-square-foot chapel, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, being built on the Aquinas College campus. Courtesy Aquinas College

A college has launched a fundraising campaign to build a $4-million chapel on its campus.

Aquinas College announced yesterday the launch of a roughly $4-million fundraising campaign to support the construction of a chapel at the intersection of Wege Way and Elderberry Lane on the 117-acre campus.

The 7,200-square-foot chapel, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, will be the first facility built with the intention of being a chapel, since the college’s existing Bukowski Chapel was originally constructed for the Holmdene Estate as stables.

The college plans to break ground on the chapel next spring.

The chapel

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom is expected to be built in the center of the Grand Rapids campus in an acknowledgement of Aquinas’ Dominican roots and ensuring all members of the campus community are in close proximity.

The chapel will have capacity for roughly 300 people and will be open to students, faculty, staff and the community.

The chapel will be used for a variety of purposes: private and communal prayer, worship and religious services and weddings.

Juan Olivarez, president of Aquinas, said the chapel will serve as a symbol of faith for all visitors to the campus.

“Our Lady Seat of Wisdom will allow us to gather together in God’s name, as well as encourage our Aquinas family to come back to campus for years to come,” Olivarez said.


Our Lady Seat of Wisdom is being designed by JNKA Architects, a Park Ridge, Ill.-based firm specializing in churches and faith-based communities.

The construction will be handled by Erhardt Construction in Ada.

Ground blessing

Aquinas held a ground-blessing event on Saturday at the historical marker on Wege Way and Elderberry Lane.

During the event, an Aquinas student and Sister Maureen Geary spoke about the chapel, and there was a reading of a letter from Bishop Walkowiak.

“Through its founders, the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Aquinas College has a rich Catholic tradition,” Walkowiak said. “As Dominican spirituality outlines, this new chapel will help students realize a life of prayer centered in the Eucharist, as they continue to dedicate themselves to their studies and services in the community.”

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