By Breanna Bonczewski

Howard Chapel, located at the center of Barton College’s campus, is undergoing major construction and renovation. The construction is to improve the chapel and the area around the chapel, making it a place for students to hang out and relax.

The school is working to raise the rest of the money to fund this renovation.chapel1

The renovations are to take place in three different phases. Chaplain Jamie Eubanks said phase one has already started.

“It is a million dollar renovation and phase one is new heating and air and the new entrance,” said Eubanks.

Phase one also will include an outdoor seating area located on the side of the chapel facing the Hamlin Student center and costs a total of $400,000. This new area will be for students to talk with friends, hang out between classes and have a peaceful place to sit and reflect,” said Eubanks.

“The second phase is to the inside and to make it more user friendly and cost $500,000” said Eubanks. “My office will be moving into the chapel along with the chair of the religion department’s office.”.

A conference space made for students to study, have meetings, and learn more about religion and their own faith will be part of this construction. The stained glass that is currently inside the chapel will be restored and there will be shared space for receptions and groups that are large to gather and discuss.

Phase three plans to refurbish the main area of the chapel by fixing the worship area, and renovating the pews that are 75 years old and it costs $200,000.

“In terms of the balcony offering more seating, the big sound box that is up there now will be removed and the sound system will be moved closer to the stage area so that it can be easily accessible. This will open up the balcony to put in more seating.” said Eubanks.

The balcony will be redesigned to enhance it and make it look more presentable and there will be new audio and visual equipment.

“Phase one is completely funded and is expected to be completed sometime throughout the semester and into the summer,” Eubanks said. “The second phase is not completely funded but we are hoping to have this done by opening for fall, which is the goal.”

Phase three does not currently have a completion time so the day for that will be announced when the construction progresses more throughout the year and when more funding comes in.

The main goal of the chapel renovations are to provide a nice place for students and faculty to gather and have a nice environment to promote vocational exploration and spiritual growth, said Eubanks.

If you were to look at the new entrance and look straight down it from the road, you will notice that you see the bell tower and directly behind that you will see the chapel and the plaza” said Eubanks.