At age 42, Bellarmine Chapel is getting a facelift. During the summer, workers began adding office and multi-purpose space to the front of the chapel. The work creates a new, rounded façade with a single, central entrance marked by large vertical pylons and the seal of the Society of Jesus. The construction project, scheduled to be completed by December, doubles the space in the vestibule and office section of the chapel, says Richard W. Bollman, S.J., pastor of Bellarmine parish. He says the project “will inch close to $1 million.” Parishioners are raising the bulk of the money—about $700,000—with the University contributing to infrastructure needs, such as rewiring the building.
The addition reflects a kind of coming-of-age for the parish, which has grown from 450 to 700 families over the past 12 years. “We’ve been the kind of parish that likes to gather socially,” Bollman says. “And as it is now, there’s really no place to celebrate events except right in the middle of the sanctuary itself.” Staffing needs in the growing parish have also evolved, making more office space a necessity.
The project also includes a new baptismal font and handicap-accessible restrooms. Other changes include moving the statue of Saint Robert Bellarmine to a garden at the side of the building.