Hood Seminary breaks ground for new refectory building
By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Andre Resner can already smell the coffee and envision the Cheerwine flowing inside Hood Theological Seminary’s new dining facility.
Resner, professor of homiletics and church worship at Hood, shared his excitement about the upcoming construction of the $2.8 million refectory building during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
“My anticipation is that this refectory is going to become a hub in this community,” he said. “I imagine it sitting here and being a place where everybody gathers at all times during the day.”
Resner said the 9,034-square-foot refectory will make a “huge difference in the life of the seminary.”
“I see this refectory as really a wager by Hood to say that we may be a drive-in seminary, but we’re not a drive-through seminary,” he said. “People can drive in, park their cars, join a community and be enriched.
“No matter how far away you come from, there’s going to be a place where we gather around a table and share fellowship in the midst of our classroom learning.”
Student Tonya Brittain said she expects the new dining facility to become the “heartbeat of the seminary.”
“Much in the same way that (Jesus) had to do a little bit of explaining in plain terms, he loved to share meals,” she said. “We needed a place where we could share meals and commune with each other and spend time learning from one another in plain terms.”
Latishia Chapman said as a first-year student at Hood, she’s looking forward to spending time in the refectory.
“Looking at the picture of what the new refectory will look like, you see all the light that’s going to shine in, and that light is also going to be reflected inside the refectory as we communicate with one another and expand our horizons to grow in ministry,” she said.
Tony Almeida, a member of the seminary’s board of trustees, said the building will serve as an extension of the classroom.
“We look forward to this wonderful refectory,” he said. “This refectory will certainly take Hood to another level when it comes to being an institution that transforms students in their pursuit of ministry.”
Hood President Dr. Albert Aymer called Tuesday’s groundbreaking a “real special moment” in the life of the seminary.
“It is special because we are about to break ground for a facility that is important to the ministry, the witness, the work of this theological seminary,” he said. “One of the real challenges that we try to do here is to give people orientation to ministry, and the refectory helps us to do that in a significant way.”
Salisbury architect Karen Alexander designed the building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. It will be the first completely green building on campus.
The refectory will have the ability to double as a multi-purpose space for graduations, convocations and community events.
Margaret Kluttz, development officer for Hood, reminded the dozens of people in attendance Tuesday that the seminary is $400,000 shy of enough money to complete the project.
“We have one last leg of this fundraising, and we’re going to be swimming upstream real hard,” she said.
Kluttz pointed out that the refectory will be constructed on the site of the former motel’s swimming pool. She managed to find the rules that used to be posted there and showed them to the audience.
“The swimming pool rules are sort of reminiscent of the way you have to raise money,”she said. “No running, but you go for it. No boisterous or rough play, so I promise not to have that, but I don’t promise not to keep trying to raise money for this last leg of this swimming match that we’re into right now.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.