Construction is underway on the chapel wall of the university’s new retreat center, which is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clarke County, Va.
Construction is underway on the chapel wall of the university’s new retreat center, which is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clarke County, Va.

Construction on the new Calcagnini Contemplative Center is on schedule, with an estimated completion date set for fall 2013, according to Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J.

The 55-acre center will house all campus ministry retreats for Georgetown students, faculty and alumni and is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clarke County, Va.
A year after breaking ground, the construction is 30 percent complete, with the outside shell of both the  center’s chapel and dining hall built and construction on the cabins will begin this fall, according to Assistant Vice President of University Facilities Regina Bleck.

According to O’Brien, after a certificate of occupancy is granted that certifies the building’s compliance with building codes, the center can be test run in the fall of 2013 before retreats are formally held beginning in the winter.

“Our hope is to get a certificate of occupancy next summer sometime, but that will be dependent on the winter,” O’Brien said.
If all goes according to plan, all campus ministry retreats will be run at the center by spring 2013.
Arthur Calcagnini (COL ’54) and Nancy Calcagnini gave the primary gift of $17 million to fund the center and are staying informed about the construction progress.

“I’m very much involved and wanted to stay involved in the operation of the center and introduce new programs there, as well as partake in the programs that will be held there,” Arthur Calcagnini said.
Leaders of retreat programs are looking forward to the opportunity to utilize the new facility.

Sean Huang (SFS ’14), a student coordinator for the ESCAPE First Year Experience, said that the center’s location will make retreat travel shorter and facilitate planning logistics.

“We currently hold our retreats at Sheperd’s Spring [Outdoor Ministry Center in Sharpsburg, Md.] … but since it’s not technically ours, we have to keep booking them every year a year in advance for the retreats,” he said. “Right now we have already booked fall [2013] dates with them just in case theCalcagnini Center isn’t open yet.”

He added that the new center will invigorate the ESCAPE program.

“It’s a really powerful statement to how much Georgetown really cares about its students in ways that are not just purely academic.”

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