Local university secures funds after 2011 earthquake
- St. Gregory’s University has raised the $4.7 million required to restore the outside of their Benedictine Hall, which was damaged last November due to an earthquake.
St. Gregory’s University has raised the $4.7 million required to restore the outside of their Benedictine Hall, which was damaged last November due to an earthquake.
“It was a very haunting scene,” university President Greg Main said of Benedictine Hall after the earthquake.
“I drove up and you could see that one of the turrets was gone,” Main said. “The others looked like they were a little bit out of kilter – because they were.”
“A lot of things run through your mind, the first thing was, what are we going to do?” he said.
While the university was unable to use Benedictine Hall, officials scrambled to find other options.
“Monday morning, I got a call from President Whitlock at OBU offering classrooms if we needed them,” Main said.
That community spirit followed the university past the 5.6 magnitude earthquake, and on through the fundraising process.
The original estimates put the renovation at $2.8 to 3 million dollars, however as more research was done, the number rose.
It was discovered that the entire roof would need to be replaced, as well as adding another storm drain, and the turrets cost more than originally estimated, Main said.
“All those things rounded up together, and it quickly grew,” Main said.
More than 3,200 benefactors provided $2.6 million. The additional funds are coming from state and federal tax credits because of the age of the building, Main said.
Benedictine Hall is nearly 100 years old.
The earthquake happened Nov. 5, 2011, almost exactly a year ago.
“It’s significant that it’s taken a year to get to this point,” Main said. “But it’s also significant that in that same year, we’ve had 3,200 people step up.”
Support came from alumni, citizens of Shawnee, and people all over the United States, Main said.
Main estimated that construction would begin around the beginning of 2013.