The latest construction project at Lee University campus is a chapel building which will be located on the prominent corner of Ocoee Street and 11th Street on the campus in Cleveland, Tennessee. The chapel will be “an intimate space dedicated to worship, prayer, and the spiritual life of the campus,” according to Dr. Paul Conn, Lee president.
The new building is being described as “ a small neo-Gothic church-like structure” which will seat approximately 200 people. It will include a traditional spire and steeple, a vaulted ceiling in its nave and transept, and a full basement. The structure will represent an architectural departure from the familiar Greek Revival style of most structures built on the Lee campus during the past twenty years. Ground was broken on the project last month.
“We have consistently used the same elements of red brick, portico porches, and Greek columns,” Conn said, “but we want this building to be different. It will serve a unique function in the life of our university, and we want it to offer a unique look architecturally.”
The chapel will be used by student groups and organizations for small-group worship, discipleship gatherings, prayer services, and personal events such as weddings.
“We have all visited numerous colleges and universities, even those without a spiritual mission, where the most photographed or most striking structure on campus is a beautiful, traditional chapel. But at Lee, ironically, we have no such place. There are chapels in hospitals, chapels in airports, even chapels in shopping malls. But somehow, although faith is such an important part of our lives, Lee University has never before had a facility specifically designed as a house of worship, a place for students to go for quiet moments with God.”
The new project is being designed by ArCon, Inc., in collaboration with local architectural firm Rardin and Carroll, Inc. The total floor plan will include 12,000 square feet on two levels. It is scheduled for completion in late 2011.
The chapel construction comes on the heels of the close of Lee University’s most successful capital campaign in its history, Press Toward the Mark. The campaign raised over $34 million and realized several new buildings, $2 million added to the endowed scholarship fund and a campus-wide computer infrastructure upgrade.