Construction of a seminary building this month will be the first new addition to the Athenaeum of Ohio in more than 50 years.
Located in Mount Washington, the Athenaeum is the third oldest Catholic seminary in the United States. Since 1829 it has prepared priests, deacons and lay ministers to serve the church.
Ground was broken Nov. 2 on Fenwick Hall with construction scheduled to begin late November or early December. The new building is expected to be completed by March or April 2019.
“It is very exciting and also historic,” said the Rev. Benedict D. O’Cinnsealaigh, president and rector of the Athenaeum of Ohio.
Between 1958 and 1963, a building was added on the west side of the campus. However, since then work has primarily consisted of renovations to the main building on campus.
Construction of Fenwick Hall is budgeted at $11.5 million and will come from donations. It is named after Bishop Edward Dominic Fenwick, who founded the Athenaeum in the early 1800s.
O’Cinnsealaigh said the primary consideration in adding a new building was space. “In recent years we have renovated all of the available space in the present building,” he said.
The Athenaeum currently has 82 seminary students. Fenwick Hall will be a multi-function facility which will accommodate an additional 30 students. It will also provide the Athenaeum with two additional conference rooms as well as lodging for deacons, pastors and guests.
Since 1998-1999 enrollment at the Athenaeum has increased by 156 percent.
“Many of the men who show interest in the priesthood are looking for something deeper in life, more spiritual and with more meaning,” said O’Cinnsealaigh about the continued growth of seminary students desiring to attend the Athenaeum.