Loyola Student Dispatch

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Loyola buys retreat center in Woodstock

Posted by loyolastudentdispatch on May 25, 2010

Courtesy Resurrection Retreat Center

Loyola University Chicago announced Tuesday that it has purchased the 98-acre Resurrection Retreat Center  in northwest suburban Woodstock from the Congregation of the Resurrection, according to a university news release.
 
The retreat center, which the university plans to name the Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus, will be used for a number of different purposes and features 100 guest rooms, a chapel, a full-service dining area, and meeting space, according to the release.

  

Originally built in the 1970s as a novitiate for the Congregation of the Resurrection, the building was later converted to a retreat center in the 1980s by the Congregation. After adding an additional wing and 50 rooms to the center in the early 2000s, the retreat center eventually closed in 2009. 

The Congregation of the Resurrection had proposed to convert the property into a senior community, with the proposed name of “Resurrection Village,” according to the organization’s Web site. It was working with the McHenry County Board to gain approval for the plan, which would have included independent living villas. 

Loyola’s $6.4 million acquisition of the retreat center, located at 2710 South Country Club Road, will allow the school to expand its student retreat programs, which currently only accommodate a small portion of first-year students. In addition to plans to offer retreat opportunities to all first-year students, the university also plans to introduce retreat-program opportunities for sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well, according to the news release.
 
“Making Loyola a sanctuary for self-reflection is an important part of the university’s strategic plan,” said Robert Kelly, vice president for student development. “Offering retreats allows us to provide a significant experience for our students. Building a strong tradition of retreats geared towards their developmental needs supports the spirit and principles of a transformative education and will enable us to provide a premier undergraduate experience unmatched by any other Jesuit college and university.”

  

The university also plans to use the center to introduce an Outdoor Adventure Program. The program will provide students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to experience outdoor activities that are designed to promote positive lifetime skills and leadership development; encourage personal and interpersonal development; and increase environmental awareness by providing high-quality leisure education, outdoor, educational, and experiential programs. 

On the academic side, Loyola’s biology department and Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) will also benefit from the purchase. With 20 acres of natural habitat that includes ponds, streams, woods, and prairie land, the property offers a unique learning opportunity for students and faculty interested in the sciences. Students enrolled in classes like ecology, environmental sciences, wetlands biology, conservation biology, restoration biology, and others will have the opportunity to conduct field research on the land and work with the McHenry County Conservation District to restore the natural habitat. This fall, CUERP will conduct a field course with students designing, planting, and maintaining an organic garden on the grounds, with intent to expand into a small sustainable farm that students, as well as local community members, will participate in. 

Long term, Loyola would like to offer courses for the community on making compost, permaculture, bee keeping, seed collecting, and organic gardening.
“This acquisition makes a lot of sense for our University, and we are thrilled that we had the opportunity to make this land a part of Loyola University Chicago,” said Wayne Magdziarz, vice president of capital planning. “Our students, whether through retreat opportunities or field research, will clearly benefit from this new space.”

  

Loyola also plans to make the retreat center available to external groups and organizations in the future. More information will be available when the University officially opens the center this fall. 

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One Response to “Loyola buys retreat center in Woodstock”

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