Securing and modernizing the Archabbey Library and St. Anselm Hall – whose critical building systems have reached their natural lifespans – are vital to ensuring that Saint Meinrad’s new programs can be housed in suitable spaces.

Saint Meinrad’s maintenance staff has cared well for the Archabbey Library and St. Anselm Hall. However, after more than 30 years of use, both facilities need major improvements to house the Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization and the Institute for Sacred Music, as well as to continue serving the needs of monks, students, staff, retreatants and guests.

Renovation work began in May 2022.

Archabbey Library

The renovations will make space available in the library to house the Institute for Sacred Music. In addition, two areas in the library that need more space will be expanded: the Rare Book Room and the Saint Meinrad archives.

Repurposing the 37-year-old library will provide new opportunities to enrich the life of the Church. With room available to house offices, create meeting and study spaces, convene experts and house new programs, the Archabbey Library will remain the learning hub of Saint Meinrad.

As the building has aged, it faces the natural lifecycle of core systems and other infrastructure challenges. These impact user and visitor experience and threaten the safety of the collection, which includes valuable and rare books and other academic resources that serve the monastery and the Seminary and School of Theology.

The flat, terraced roof – designed to blend into the hillside – leaks, and aging pipes that run above areas of the collection occasionally leak. Further, a high moisture level in the building has created issues with mildew, and the fluorescent lighting is not conducive to the long-term preservation of the collection.

Plans include these improvements:

  • Installing a slanted roof over the flat roof.

  • Upgrading electrical systems to an automated for improved efficiency and safety.

  • Upgrading the HVAC system.

  • Installing better lighting that is energy efficient and reduces harm to the library collection.

  • Waterproofing and enhancing the tiered roofs by installing a new green space and roof membrane on the upper roof and replacing the lower two roofs and roof assembly.

  • Fortifying and enhancing the exterior walls. 

  • Upgrading elevator controls.

St. Anselm Hall

St. Anselm Hall houses the Archabbey Church’s liturgical music rooms and sacristy; monks’ offices; seminarian living and guest quarters; a health clinic serving monks, co-workers, students and the community; a dining room; and some administrative offices.

The building also will house the new Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization, including residential living for the youth ministry degree program.

St. Anselm Hall was last renovated more than 30 years ago and, as Saint Meinrad has grown and evolved, has been adapted to meet current needs. While it has been routinely maintained, core mechanical systems have reached the end of their lifespans and require attention to ensure the four-story building is secure and well positioned for current and future use.

To ensure the building can house the Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization and continue serving the needs of monks, students, retreatants and staff, Saint Meinrad will undertake these improvements:

  • Replace the water main with copper piping to counteract the corrosion and leaks.

  • Upgrade the HVAC system to help maintain consistent temperatures during seasonal changes.

  • Bolster electrical capabilities by replacing aging electrical panels with new ones.

  • Upgrade lighting from fluorescent to LED lighting with dimmable and occupancy-based settings.

  • Improve fire systems, including installation of fire suppression and a system that will ensure incidents can be pinpointed by room, replacing smoke and duct detectors, and automating fire doors.

  • Upgrade elevator controls.