The College of Saint Thomas More is so small that students at TCU might drive or walk by it without even noticing, but the newest addition to the school might make it stand out a bit more.
The college, a Catholic institution with 34 full-time students located on the edge of the TCU campus, began construction on a new chapel at the intersection of Lubbock Avenue and West Bowie Street in May. Construction is scheduled to be completed at about Christmas time.
The new chapel is being funded through donations, according to the college’s Web site.
James Patrick, the chancellor of Saint Thomas More and co-designer of the building, said the new chapel will be the centerpiece of the college and the first of many changes to come.
“The college is a de facto Roman Catholic institution, and the heart of the enterprise is the union between faith and reason,” Patrick said. “Christ has to be the center of the campus for us to do our job well.”
The current chapel, Christ the Teacher Chapel, is an older, smaller building that has started to show its age, Patrick said. The college plans to make the old chapel a student commons area.
The new chapel, which will carry the same name as the old chapel, will feature a traditional design and is being built with technology in mind, Patrick said. The new chapel will hold about 180 people compared to the current chapel, which can hold about 60, Patrick said.
“It’s for the celebration of the most important thing, which is the Eucharist and the Mass,” Patrick said . “It’s essential for that to be the center of our lives, so the first building we’re going to build is the chapel.”
Catholic members of Frogs for Life, a support group for women with unplanned pregnancies, has often used the current chapel for prayer since last semester, said group president Melinda Castro.
Castro, a senior modern dance major, said the group is looking forward to using the new chapel.
“We’re definitely going to utilize it,” Castro said. “The new chapel will look new on the outside, but on the inside it will serve the same purpose.”
Patrick and students said the chapel at Saint Thomas More is always open to anyone who would like to visit.
Andrew Davis, a sophomore at Saint Thomas More said he expects more people will visit the chapel because it will be larger and nicer.
“We want to draw people in not just from Saint Thomas More but from anywhere,” he said. “If they want to come to the chapel that would be awesome.”
Sophomore Tyler Jarvis said he’s excited about the changes at the school.
“It’s the first real big building project we’ve had here,” Jarvis said. “It’s been a real exciting thing because we’ve had a lot of plans for the future, and now they’re finally getting implemented and things are getting done.”
Patrick said the next building to be constructed will be a new library directly behind the new chapel once it has been completed.
The College of Saint Thomas More is located on Lubbock Avenue just east of the Grand Marc.