Franciscan Retreat Center eyes major renovation

Posted: Feb. 16, 2013 4:13 pm Updated: Mar. 3, 2013 1:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A capital campaign will soon be under way to raise more than $1 million to renovate the Franciscan Retreat Center on Quincy University's North Campus.

The center, which was originally used as a seminary, hosts 30 to 35 retreats a year and has not undergone any major renovations in more than 40 years.

"We see quite a bit of use, more than most people might think," said Dave Lunt, who is the coordinator of the center, a part-time position that he calls a "labor of love."

The center at 18th Street and Seminary Road regularly hosts a number of organizations such as the Great River Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Quincy Notre Dame class retreats and recovery groups.

Among the areas being targeted for a makeover are shower and bathroom facilities, bedrooms, chapel areas, furnishings, heating and air conditioning and conference rooms.

‘"To do everything we want to do is going to cost between $1 million and $1.5 million," Lunt said. "The makeover will be based on the ability to raise funds."

One of the first items to be tackled will be a $150,000 renovation of the shower area, which will be helped by a $50,000 grant from the Tracy Family Foundation.

"Actually, the campaign has already started with the Tracy grant," Lunt said.

By design, the shower renovation is scheduled to start at some point this summer and be completed around the beginning of fall.

The renovation of the retreat center is also connected with a separate redevelopment of another section of the same site -- "B" Building, which faces Seminary Road -- at the North Campus complex. That part of the building will house the Connie Niemann Center for Music, made possible by a $1 million donation from Rich Niemann Sr. and the Niemann Foods Foundation.

The renovation of the retreat center is a project close to Lunt's heart.

"I first went to a TEC in 1981, and what happens (at the retreat center) means a lot to me," he said.

Lunt said more information about the capital campaign will be available soon An information meeting is scheduled this week to begin to lay the groundwork.