Organizers with the Cardinal Newman Liberal Arts Project believe they have found a good location for a new Catholic college in the town of Otsego, Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press reports.
According to the Cardinal Newman Liberal Arts Project website, the organization is “a lay initiative seeking to establish a baccalaureate curriculum” as envisioned in the work of John Henry Cardinal Newman’s “The Idea of a University” and Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio.” It hopes to name the proposed school Newman College.
Project leader Ronald Muller says the St. Margaret Catholic Church building and campus, which will be left vacant after the parish moves to a new location, will be ideal for a liberal arts school.
“The site would just really lend itself to a liberal arts college," Muller told the Grand Rapids Press.
The 60-year-old church building, which seats 300, could be used for dramatic performances, musical events, and lectures. The adjacent rectory could be used for classrooms and the extra land on the property could one day accommodate a dormitory.
"Both we and the parish would like very much to see the building used or have a new life [as] a college," Muller said to the Grand Rapids Press. "A church building like that isn't something you can easily renovate and use for a business or another purpose."
The church was originally listed at $750,000, but has not sold for two years. St. Margaret’s pastor Fr. Don Klingler was optimistic about a possible agreement.
"If this goes through, I think most people will see it as a win-win situation for the town, for the college, for St. Margaret's, for the diocese," Father Klingler said to the Grand Rapids Press.
The purchase of the St. Margaret campus will require the blessing of James Murray, Bishop of Kalamazoo. City zoning will also need to be altered to accommodate the college project.