Cedarville University starts $3M chapel renovation

The project includes adding seating, upgrading the sound system and other work.

Cedarville University’s Jeremiah Chapel will gain more seating as part of its $3 million renovation.

University staff and students began dismantling the pews in the chapel on Monday to make way for theater-style seating, among other changes.

“As we evaluated what we wanted to do and what we want the chapel to be going forward, all of this kind of fits,” said Rod Johnson, the university’s associate vice president of operations.

The chapel, which is located in Dixon Ministry Center, is 20 years old and is in need of upgrades, Johnson said.

“When you look close, you see things that are broken and loose and just needing (to be) replaced,” he said.

The renovations will include replacing the carpet, the sound system and the seating, as well as adding acoustic panels and painting the walls.

A room directly behind the chapel will be removed to make way for another 160 seats, bringing the chapel’s seating capacity to 3,400.

“As the university continues to grow, our need for space continues to grow,” Johnson said of the university’s record enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students.

The pews removed from the chapel will not go to waste, Johnson said. They’ll be sent to a family-owned North Carolina company that refurbishes them for churches in need.

“When there’s been damage whether it’s a flood or a fire and smoke damage, that kind of thing, and they can’t afford to buy all new pews, they’ll take these pews. They’ll cut them down. They’ll refurbish them. They’ll reupholster them and then sell them to these churches,” Johnson added.

The renovations are privately funded and will not come from student tuition or fees, the university said in a press release.

“We have been planning and praying for this project for months. It will be exciting to see the transition start as we are finishing chapel for the year,” said Jon Wood, vice president for student life and Christian ministries.

The chapel will host its final service on Wednesday before closing for renovations.

Renovations are expected to be completed by the first week of August, in time for the start of the next academic year, Johnson said.

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