Franciscan University growth extends to Brady Circle
STEUBENVILLE — As he prepared to bless Franciscan University of Steubenville’s new Center for Evangelization and Renewal May 17, the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, the school’s president, noted the former office building will provide much-needed space for its evangelistic programs.
But he said it should do much more than if it’s to aid in fulfilling the university’s goal of strengthening the faith of current church leaders and spreading the message of the Gospel to those outside the church.
“It’s not just a building for a building’s sake. It’s about something better,” said Pivonka, who added, “Ultimately, it’s about building a community of God.”
He and other school officials noted the building, located at 114 Brady Circle East, will serve as base of operations for about 30 staff involved in organizing seminars and retreats aimed at strengthening the spirituality of visiting church leaders.
The center also will be home to the university’s two-year master of arts program in catechetics and evangelization, an online program designed to prepare individuals for pastoral care.
Mark Joseph, the university’s vice president for outreach and evangelization, said supporting the efforts of local parishes was among goals set in the university’s ongoing capital improvement campaign.
He said through the new center, the university will make its resources available to local church leaders.
Joseph acknowledged the many involved in securing and renovating the building, which includes a conference room with seating for 50.
Among the many on hand to celebrate the occasion was Joseph McGurn, the university’s director of physical plant services, who noted the center’s opening brings the university a step closer to the construction of its Christ the Teacher academic building.
He confirmed buildings occupied by the evangelistic staff are among several in the campus’ Assisi Heights area to be demolished to accommodate the addition of the 110,000-square-foot academic center and conference hall.
McGurn said crews will be working through the summer on roadwork and other ground preparations for the $48 million complex, with construction slated to begin September and completion eyed for summer 2024.
Designs by MCF Architecture of Pittsburgh call for the three-story structure to include classrooms and labs for the university’s nursing, engineering and business departments and a conference center with seating for up to 500 that also may be reconfigured to serve smaller gatherings.