Saint Joseph Abbey + Seminary College breaks ground on first new building in 50 years

Today, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, Saint Joseph Abbey + Seminary College broke ground on its first new building in more than half a century, the Pere Rouquette Library.

Once completed, the three-story library, named after Father Adrien Rouquette, the first native-born Louisianian to be ordained to the priesthood, will encompass approximately 18,000 square feet to include space for a 45,000-volume book collection, support offices, collaboration clusters, computer stations, storage, tech centers, classroom and other service areas to support the operations.

A highlight of the new library will be the Nook, an outdoor reading garden beneath the shade of two majestic Live Oaks, which will offer contemplative study space for students and a beautiful shaded garden for visitors to admire. The Nook is named after Rouquette’s hermitage amongst the Choctaw Indians in Lacombe, La.

The library interiors will reflect the Abbey’s organic landscape as well as build upon the architectural landscape of the campus. Wood, color texture, and lighting will be strategically utilized to maximize transparency from within. A variety of spaces will be created to cater to individual contemplation or group studies.

VergesRome Architects, also responsible for designing Friends Coastal Restaurant in Madisonville, the Christian Brothers School in City Park, the Mid-City Market in New Orleans, and more, designed the library. Voelkel McWilliams Construction, LLC will head construction.

In the midst of one of its most active and prolific years, this spring, the Seminary College welcomed 138 seminarians to campus, the largest class in the history of the Seminary College. Following completion of construction in the summer of 2017, the building will provide space on campus to allow students to eventually reside in the current library building, Savio Hall, which once housed seminarians.

Construction of the new library is essential to Saint Joseph’s master plan to enhance its academic and formation programs.

“Throughout my tenure, I have strived not only to provide for the immediate needs for the Seminary College, but to plan realistically for the growth and enhancement for all four pillars of priestly formation,” said Fr. Gregory Boquet, O.S.B., President-Rector of Saint Joseph Seminary College.

“A new home for Rouquette Library will allow the Seminary College to continue offering necessary academic and technology resources for the ongoing enhancement of our intellectual formation, while providing a versatile platform that can be adapted as the academic world evolves."