- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Cornerstone University unveiled plans recently for a 1,500-seat chapel and 6,000-square-foot addition to its music building, projects estimated to cost $15 million and aimed at providing students with a better learning environment and demonstrating the university’s commitment to a Christ-centered education.

President Joseph Stowell, speaking to a crowd of students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors, said the chapel shows our commitment to be a “learning community where Jesus Christ is pre-eminent.”

“We have been so happy to celebrate Christ as the lord of our community, as our local hero here, and yet there is not a sacred space designated where we rise to worship him,” Stowell said. “Now God has provided that as a reality.”

Both projects are expected to be completed by August 2015. Donors are covering all costs. All but $700,000 has been raised, according to The Grand Rapids Press ( https://bit.ly/1fr0g11 ).

As of now, Cornerstone - a Christian liberal arts school - holds chapel service in its gymnasium. The new chapel is named “Christ Chapel.”

Having a dedicated chapel has long been a goal of the university, and to see plans for one coming to fruition is “terribly exciting,” said Charles Alber, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees for 40 years.

“You pray for something and you dream about something for so many years, and then finally see it really begin to come to pass,” he said. “It’s just very exciting.”

The 6,000-square-foot addition to Gordon Music Building - which was built in the 1960s - will house studios, practice space, faculty offices. The building has long needed an upgrade and expansion, Stowell said.

“We’ve got outstanding students and a great music faculty, to afford them more space” will make “our work more effective,” he said.

One feature of the chapel administrators are excited about is four 25-foot tall by 17-foot wide stained glass windows, which are to be created by Danish artist Peter Brandes. The windows are expected to cost $1.2 million. Word has come through that a final donation to cover the cost of the windows had been received, Stowell said.

“It’s kind of like the surprise element that God says, ‘I love this project,’” Stowell joked.

University Provost Rick Ostrander said the chapel and the addition to the music building are “visible expressions of the university’s values.”

“As a Christ centered university one of our goals is to bring unity and coherence to education,” he said. “We seek to instruct the mind and the heart, to integrate faith and learning.”

Stowell said the chapel will be a visually striking building.

“You can worship anywhere, but there are certain environments conducive to worship,” he said. “I think the design of this building will be very conducive to worship.”


Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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