STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan University of Steubenville community celebrated the start of a massive construction project on Friday as well as the completion of Phase 1 of the new land at Trinity Health System.
Micky Pohl, Board Emeritus and Chairman of the Rebuild My Church Capital Campaign, told the crowd that had gathered for the ceremonies: “We have to do a little more.”
“We surpassed our $75 million goal surprisingly quickly,” said Pohl. “But now we are in a different economy: a recession is upon us, the cost of everything is rising. But with your help, we can and will achieve our new goals.
Pohl described him as the “the most ambitious fundraising campaign in our history.”
“This… will allow us to take it to the next level with new programs, new scholarships and new resources,” said Pohl. “We have to be financially careful, but when we meet God, we don’t want him to tell us that we were too shy or that we didn’t trust him enough.”
The celebration began at Trinity Health System Field, where the Carapellotti family joined Reverend Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the university, to cut the ribbon.
Before that, however, Pivonka announced that the new ground would be named after them, “a sign of our great gratitude to the Carapellotti family and the 75-year friendship and support they have given to the Franciscan University of Steubenville. “
“Since its founding in 1946, many people have helped make this small Steubenville College the world-renowned Steubenville University it has become,” Pivonka said. “As we celebrated our 75th anniversary last year, we also celebrated those whose love and sacrifices have contributed to our success.”
He said the Carapellotti family exemplifies that love and sacrifice, “Supporting the school in many ways, since its inception.”
“We at the university spent many weeks, many months praying and discerning what we would call this, what would be the appropriate name for it. We moved into the Carapellotti Fieldhouse, feeling that he could not be greater blessing.
Pivonka said Trinity Health System Field reminded the crowd of Franciscan student-athletes “are playing for something bigger than themselves.”
“It’s not just about winning, although winning is important,” he said. “It’s not just about competition, but competition is important. Ultimately, it’s about giving glory to God who has given us so many blessings.
Trinity’s chief marketing officer, Laurie Labishak, said it seemed like a natural partnership.
“We work with Franciscan on a variety of programs including the nursing program and we have a clinic here on campus,” she says. “It was a natural partnership between two large Catholic entities in the community.”
“We are really excited” she added. “It means a lot to our community. Trinity is planning to hold events here on the ground – we are looking at eventually combining and bringing in local schools and having scouts, we are looking at eventually bringing in partners with Special Olympics to bring Special Olympics back to County Jefferson. There are a lot of different things, we see opportunities in this area.
Officials say the $50 million Christ the Teacher Academic Building and Conference Center, to be built by Egan Plaza, will include more than 110,000 square feet of learning space, “making it the tallest building on campus.”
With two wings – one targeting academic needs, the other spiritual needs – it is the first new academic building constructed on campus in two decades. University officials say this will help Franciscan meet ever-increasing enrollment gains and allow them to expand business, engineering and nursing programs. There will be a new admissions visitor center, a new boardroom, a conference center, a multi-level boardroom, a state-of-the-art nursing lab, and eight specialty engineering labs.
Chrissy Jungers, dean of the School of Professional Programs and professor of mental health counseling, said the project is a “solution to a real need we have for more space on our campus.”
“We are busy, we are looking to the future” says Jungers. “But I think we have to recognize that today is different – today stands out in the 75-year history of the Franciscan University.”
Jungers said that Franciscan has “has not yet reached its full potential as an academic and faith-based community. We still imagine who we can still become.
“This is an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to seeking faith, to seeking reason, in light of the truth that we already know,” she says.
“It means that we, as a university, are alive. We have not reached our full potential.