On October 7, 2001, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, after renewing its consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, ceremonially broke ground for its new 39,000 sq. ft. St. John the Evangelist Library.
Christendom College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Founding President Dr. Warren Carroll, VP for Development John Ciskanik, College Librarian Andrew Armstrong, Board Member Robert Scrivener, Petrine Construction President Frank O’Reilly, and library Architect Jim O’Brien were present, along with the student body and many alumni and visitors, to break ground for the new library. College Chaplain Rev. Anthony Mastroeni blessed the ground prior to ground breaking.
“The ground breaking taking place today, on the Feast of the Holy Rosary, signifies our College’s commitment to the Blessed Virgin Mary and our dedication to her Beloved Son. For the past twenty-four years, we have been using a converted barn as our library! For many years now, we have had a real need to build a larger library to house all of our books, many of which are currently in storage, as well as to provide more suitable areas where the students can find peace and quiet to study,” said Andrew Armstrong, Director of Library Services.
The ground breaking is the result of many years of planning and fund-raising by the College. In fact, the College embarked on a $12 million capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for the St. John the Evangelist Library, as well as other buildings needed to accommodate the rapid growth of the College. Currently, the capital campaign has generated $9 million.
Actual construction of the library will begin in January of 2002 with a completion date of September 2003. Christendom sophomore Christen Tedrow believes that this library will be a welcome addition to the campus and eagerly awaits its opening. “I’ll be a senior, hopefully, by the time the new library opens, and I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time in the library doing research for and writing my senior thesis. I know that if the student body keeps growing like it did this past year, it’ll be very hard to find a quiet place to study on campus! We really need this library.”
Under the direction of John Ciskanik, Vice President of Development, Planning, and College Relations, the plans for the library have grown from simply an idea to actual blue prints. “When a group of people get together with the purpose of trying to design a library, you end up with many different ideas,” says Ciskanik. “Although not always in agreement, the architects, our librarians, our President, and our Board of Directors have all worked together to make the St. John the Evangelist Library as welcoming and as structurally sound a building as possible. We have to always keep in mind that whatever building we erect will probably be around long after we’ve gone!”
To be nestled in the woods of Christendom’s 100-acre campus above a scenic bend in the Shenandoah River, the planned neo-colonial style library will accommodate 125,000 volumes of books, and provide for much needed study space for the students. With the architecturally inspiring design to supplement the wisdom found within, the library will serve as the academic center of life at Christendom College.