EAST AURORA — A $1.9 million construction project to completely update the education center on the campus of Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora is underway. A late spring or early summer completion date is expected.
Christ the King Seminary has experienced many changes in the last few years and is now flourishing with the support of Bishop Richard J. Malone, and the leadership of Father Joseph Gatto, president-rector.
Father Gatto said the improvement project is another significant milestone in the evolution of the Diocese of Buffalo's vision and growing reputation for priestly formation along with the formation of permanent deacons and lay ecclesial ministers.
"This project will continue to position Christ the King Seminary at the forefront of a new global vision for educating seminarians and lay ministers to help to shape the future direction of our Church," said Father Gatto. It also represents an extremely visible and symbolic moment in our history, erasing all doubt as to our future."
Father Gatto said the project will incorporate state-of-the-art technology such as LED monitors for classrooms, interactive boards, and enhanced internet capabilities to promote distance learning and access to lectures, and resources for parishes within the eight-county diocese, and throughout the U.S. and globally as well.
"This technology opens up an entirely new world to our students well beyond the 132-acre campus here in East Aurora," said Father Gatto. "If there is a conference on Sacred Scripture in Washington, D.C., a webinar on Church history originating from California, or a lecture on the Christian Doctrine of God emanating from Rome, our students will be able to participate remotely."
Originally constructed in 1961, the education center consists of several classrooms, two lecture halls, and student lounges. Improvements being made include updated lighting, windows, finishes and furnishings, as well as the addition of an elevator. A new studio will simulate ministry settings and serve as a learning lab for students. Parking adjacent to the building is also being expanded.
Richard J. Suchan, executive director of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, said the project is being funded entirely through monies raised during the recent Upon This Rock capital campaign. "We are pleased to allocate $1.9 million to this project, helping to make essential upgrades to the classroom facilities and technology that will expand the seminary's vital role as a center of education, and retreat and religious celebration within the diocese," said Suchan.
"There has been unprecedented growth at the seminary over the last few years, and it is poised for even more. Upgrades in modern classroom facilities and educational technology, as well as the continued recruitment of prominent faculty will enable us to attract and educate even more seminarians and lay students," Suchan added.
The project architect is Scheid Architectural of Buffalo and Lehigh Construction Group is the general contractor.
In addition to work on the education center, updating of the St. John Vianney Chapel on campus is also scheduled to begin this spring. This project will also be funded, in large part, though the Upon This Rock campaign.