Plans for Ave Maria University’s 24-million dollar, 100-foot-tall oratory were unveiled Thursday in Naples. The soaring church will someday be the centerpiece of the Roman Catholic University, and surrounding town. Domino’s Pizza founder, and university chancellor – Tom Monaghan - is personally paying for most of the oratory’s construction. He says they’d originally decided on a much larger structure – but rising costs and engineering challenges forced them to scale back…
“The original estimates on this were about half of what they ended up being – and every time we got another estimate it got higher. Because it was so big and so unusual I think it kind of mystified a lot of the contractors, and when the price got so high we just had to reduce the size. I figure we’re just going to have to have more masses and build more chapels on campus earlier than we thought and in the town.”
Monaghan says although the church is smaller than originally planned – the general design is the same. It will seat about 11-hundred people…it was originally to have seated more than 3-thousand. He says he feels it’s VERY important that the oratory is the dominant feature on campus, and surrounding town. The university - which is operating out of a temporary campus in Naples – hopes to break ground on the oratory, and campus sometime next year…with the goal of moving completely in 2007. The new university will be located about 5 miles south of Immokalee in Collier County.
Friday, 22 July 2005 01:00