M.U.M. reveals plans for Barhydt Chapel

The Fairfield Ledger/November 17, 2000
By Beth Dalbey

Officials at Maharishi University of Management say that while Barhydt Chapel doesn't have a place in their campuswide reconstruction plan, they will donate the building to a community group capable of raising the $1 million necessary to move the ailing structure and preserve it.

Maharishi University of Management officials said this morning that a preferred option for the disposition of Barhydt Chapel is for a community group to raise the estimated $1 million necessary to move it from the campus on the north edge of Fairfield and renovate the ailing structure.

The future of the chapel, built in 1911 and included in a Historic Campus District listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, has been in some doubt since this summer, when M.U.M. began razing historic structures as part of a campus-wide reconstruction plan.

At a meeting with community leaders this morning, officials from the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce said they would facilitate a community discussion of the option to relocate the chapel, possibly through the chamber's Community Relations Committee.

Efforts will also be made to build a network of interested Parsons College alumni, many of whom may have the financial resources to accomplish the move and renovations, according to those attending the meeting.

If fund-raising efforts to move the building don't materialize, a second option is to consider an offer from a company that builds and restores churches which would dismantle the chapel, clean the stones and use them in the repair of other churches around the country. Under that scenario, the company would be asked to offer the organ, pews and stained-glass windows to local churches. The third option, simply demolishing the chapel, would require a significant capital expenditure for the university and is probably the least desirable for the community, according to university officials.

"We recognize the importance of the chapel to many in the community of Fairfield and to some Parsons alumni," said Craig Pearson, executive vice president at the university. "Therefore, we would like to offer the building to anyone who can arrange to move it to a location off campus. Then it would become a grand, public building open and available to the entire community."

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