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Published: Wednesday, 8/15/2007

New structure on Lourdes College campus begins taking shape

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak, adjunct art instructor at Lourdes College in Sylvania, inserts the last piece into a ceramic mural she has made for the Lathrop House celebrating its role as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Franciscan nun has created murals across the Lourdes campus and elsewhere in Ohio, Texas, California, and New York, and soon in Minnesota. Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak, adjunct art instructor at Lourdes College in Sylvania, inserts the last piece into a ceramic mural she has made for the Lathrop House celebrating its role as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Franciscan nun has created murals across the Lourdes campus and elsewhere in Ohio, Texas, California, and New York, and soon in Minnesota.
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To construct its first new campus building in more than four decades, Lourdes College aimed to integrate Franciscan tradition with modern design and technology.

The building is the first to be built by the college itself rather than by the Franciscan nuns who founded Lourdes in 1958. So they asked a Franciscan nun and adjunct art instructor to create a mural displaying the spirit of the school.

Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak - who has created ceramic murals across campus and elsewhere in Ohio, Texas, California, New York, and soon Minnesota - chose an image of St. Francis of Assisi, with his arms open in an ancient prayer pose welcoming students.

The sister begins each of her classes with the peace prayer associated with St. Francis.

"It's just so representative of everything we would like to have in our world," she said. "It works in my classroom. I like it there. I thought I'd put it on the building and immortalize it."

The mural, an 18-by-20-foot visual display of the prayer, features the phrase, "Lord make me a means of your peace" across the top, and other elements of the prayer along the sides.

"The campus is filled with beautiful art and they set the bar high," Lourdes College President Robert Helmer said. "And this we just love. It's stunning."

Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak points to the mural that she created to celebrate the spirit of Lourdes College and its first new campus building in more than four decades. The 18-by-20-foot mural is a visual display of the peace prayer that is associated with St. Francis of Assisi. Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak points to the mural that she created to celebrate the spirit of Lourdes College and its first new campus building in more than four decades. The 18-by-20-foot mural is a visual display of the peace prayer that is associated with St. Francis of Assisi.
THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG Enlarge | Buy This Photo

An unveiling and blessing ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. today for the mural, which graces the eastern wall of the new 38,000-square-foot building now under construction.

The building will comprise McAlear Hall with eight classrooms and six offices, and Delp Hall that will contain a student lounge, computer labs, and learning/study center.

A balance was struck between old and new, with McAlear sticking to architectural tradition and Delp adding a modern touch.

McAlear Hall has the same furnishings as Lourdes Hall and Mother Adelaide Hall, to which it is connected. McAlear is being constructed with the same brick, copper gutters, ceramic tile roof, and curved archways as the existing campus buildings.

"This we want to be the new main door of campus," said Mike Killian, vice president of finance and administration at Lourdes.

On the structure's opposite side, large glass windows and an inverted roof make up the facade of Delp Hall.

The inverted roof is angled to be higher on the end of the hallway that extends from the building and lower where it connects, creating a channel for storm runoff. The water will enter a fountain on the roof, which redirects it off the sides of the building in several waterfalls.

Computer labs and learning centers will be on the upper level, and the lower level will have a lounge with a television, pool table, and other activities.

The college opted for a geothermal system to heat and cool the building with water and electricity, Mr. Killian said.

Forty-eight wells extend 300 feet into the ground below a new parking lot. Those wells send water into the building through millions of miles of one-inch pipe. The water is cooled to 50 degrees by the Earth's natural, subsurface temperature.

Once inside, there are about 40 heat pumps that either use electricity to heat the water to 72 degrees or tell the system it needs more water to keep it cool at that temperature.

"It's not gas and heating the air like you do at your house," Mr. Killian said. "I'm using the temperature of the Earth and electricity to heat and cool my house."

Record enrollment is driving the need for additional classroom space at Lourdes, President Helmer said.

Last fall more than 2,000 students enrolled for the first time at the college, which is celebrating its golden anniversary this school year, and President Helmer said a similar class size is expected this year.

The new building, which is being paid for by a capital campaign that has exceeded its goal of $3 million in gifts, is scheduled for completion by October.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at: mgilbert@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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