Loyola Breaks Ground on New Chapel, Gathering Space
NEW ORLEANS – Loyola University New Orleans hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today to celebrate the start of work on a new chapel and community gathering space named in honor of former Saints owner Tom Benson.
The new building will be the “sacramental and liturgical center of Catholic life for the Loyola community, a spiritual home at the heart of campus that is open and welcoming to all,” a school spokesperson said in a press release.
The $6 million project, funded entirely by donors, was launched with a lead gift of $4.8 million from the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation.
“The Gayle and Tom Benson Jesuit Center will place our Catholic identity at the center of campus and of campus life,” said University President Tania Tetlow in a release. “The Center will hold a new Chapel of St. Ignatius, where I have gone to church since I was six years old. It will also house spaces where students can come together across faith traditions. We hope it will be the most beautiful and welcoming place on campus.”
Located on a quad outside Loyola’s Monroe Hall, the new 7,000-square-foot space will be a “circular-shaped and light-filled modern building” designed by Trahan Architects, the New Orleans- and New York-based firm that is currently leading interior renovations of the Superdome. The Tobler Company will guide the project through build and closeout. Construction begins this summer and is expected to last 12 to 15 months.
“We are truly grateful for the generous community gifts that have allowed us to launch this special project,” said Vice President of University Advancement Chris Wiseman. “The Chapel of St. Ignatius and Gayle and Tom Benson Jesuit Center will be an important addition to the spiritual life of our campus and the city of New Orleans. We are also immensely grateful to be able to contribute to the local economy and create a place of joy, beauty, and repose for our campus and the New Orleans community as we work our way through and recover from the pandemic.”