Emory Report
March 19, 2007
Volume 59, Number 23

Emory Report homepage  

March 19, 2007
Candler School of Theology and the Center for Ethics to break ground

By Elaine Justice and david payne

The first phase of a plan to establish a “religion corridor” at the heart of the Emory campus begins this week with groundbreaking for a new building for Candler School of Theology and the Center for Ethics, the largest new structure adjacent to the Quad in many years.

“The creation of a religion corridor on the Quad recognizes the central role of our strategic initiative on Religions and the Human Spirit,” said Provost Earl Lewis. “This effort already involves hundreds of faculty and students who are striving to provide unparalleled depth and breadth of engagement with the study of religion as a means to confront and transform some of the most profound — and profoundly divisive — issues of our time.

“In addition, the new home for the Center for Ethics underscores how important we believe the study of ethics is to all contemporary debates,” Lewis said.

The new $34 million structure, located adjacent to Bishops Hall (current home of Candler) and several years in the planning, “is the fulfillment of a long-term dream that faculty, staff, students and alumni have for Candler,” said Candler Dean Jan Love. “Not only will it support our distinguished work with a state-of-the-art facility, it will provide a stunning space to unite our theological research, teaching and community outreach programs under one roof.”

The structure will include approximately 70,000 square feet of space for classrooms, faculty offices, administrative space and two large lecture halls with seating for 100 and 175 people respectively. Consistent with Emory’s Master Plan, the new construction will blend with Emory’s Italianate architecture with its use of marble and stucco exteriors with a clay tile roof.

The Center for Ethics, also to be lodged in the building, will triple the size of its current space. “We are excited about the opportunity to deepen the work of the Center and make tangible the vital role that ethical engagement plays in the life of the University,” said Kathy Kinlaw, interim director of the Center. “For the first time, the Center will have an intentionally designed home at the heart of the campus for the work of ethics across the University.”

In phase two of construction, Bishops Hall will be demolished and a new structure built on its footprint that will house Pitts Theology Library and a teaching chapel. Subsequently, Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, Religion Department and possibly other related units will move into the building that currently houses the Pitts Library. Completion and occupancy of the first phase is expected in the summer of 2008, and the second phase of development is projected for completion in late 2009. Both new buildings will be connected via an atrium, which will open onto an expanded, serene Rudolph Courtyard.

“We are particularly proud that the Pitts Library will move to its new home in phase two of this expansion project,” said Pat Graham, Margaret A. Pitts Professor of Theological Bibliography, librarian and co-chair of the building committee. The library will provide collaborative learning spaces, an advanced computer lab integrated into the reference area, and a special collections reading room with expanded exhibit space, he said.

Both buildings are expected to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which is awarded selectively to buildings designed and constructed under sustainability guidelines.
“The sheer beauty of the building will be impressive,” added Love.

The official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. March 20 at the site.