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UT to Break Ground on Sykes Chapel Oct. 23

Published: October 13, 2008
The University of Tampa will celebrate the construction of the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values at a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 2:30 p.m. on campus.

The ceremony, which will include presentations by UT President Ronald Vaughn, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, members of the UT Board of Trustees, and project donors, will be held at the future site of the facility on North B Street across from the Brevard residence hall. Refreshments will be served, and “tours” of the project will be provided.

The facility, announced last May, includes a 300-seat main hall, meeting and meditation rooms, a 3,184-pipe custom-built organ, a plaza and a 75-foot, 60-bell grand musical sculpture/fountain. The project is being built through a multi-million dollar lead gift from John H. and Susan Sykes, and the total project is valued at $19.5 million.

The chapel/center is scheduled for completion in January 2010. Construction of the pipe organ and the outdoor musical sculpture/fountain are to be completed afterwards.

At the announcement in May, Vaughn said that the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values will continue the transformation of UT’s campus and further enrich the educational environment and experience.

The Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values will represent the eighth completely new building on UT’s campus in the past decade. The architectural firm is Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates of Atlanta, and the construction firm will be Peter R. Brown Construction Inc. of Clearwater, FL.


The Chapel/Center

The planned 12,750-square-foot, 65-foot vaulted, east-west oriented facility will be situated north of North B Street across from Brevard Hall. The building uses natural light as a primary design focus and will include architectural elements constructed of red brick, laminated timber, glass, granite, zinc roofing and decorative red cherry millwork. The Chapel/Center will include a main hall, meeting rooms, two meditation rooms, a foyer and vestibule. It is designed to seat 300 people in moveable seating for spiritual programs, speaking engagements, seminars, ceremonies, meetings and concerts. An adjacent meditation garden will also be constructed.

The Pipe Organ

The 3,184-pipe, 45-foot mechanical action pipe organ will anchor the west end of the Chapel/Center and, when constructed, will be one of the largest of its kind in the southern U.S. It will be constructed by the Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City, Iowa, and is designed to complement the architecture. The organ’s horizontal and vertical pipes — which vary in size — will be made of either wood or tin alloy. The organ will be housed in a case made of solid American black cherry wood.

“Because of its size, musical quality and the beauty of its setting, the organ will be one of the most notable organs in the South,” Vaughn said. The completed organ and pipes are scheduled for installation and tuning in late 2011.

The Grand Musical Sculpture/Fountain

Neither a bell tower, carillon or obelisk, the unique grand musical sculpture is a 75-foot lighted structure adorned with 60 bells. The entire structure is integrated as part of a plaza and water fountain with a variety of water flows.

“We believe this grand musical sculpture and fountain will be the first of its kind in the United States,” Vaughn said. The plaza and grand musical sculpture will be completed at a later date, due to site availability.