Madonna Hall deconstruction begins

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The deconstruction of Madonna Hall on the grounds of Monastery Immaculate Conception has begun.

The building has been vacant since 2000, when the sisters closed Marian Heights Academy, a girls’ boarding school.

The five-story, 105,000-square-foot Madonna Hall opened in 1970 as a residence hall for Academy students.

When announcing plans for the deconstruction last summer, Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz, prioress, said, “For 16 years, our community and various consultants have unsuccessfully tried to repurpose Madonna Hall, to find an entity that could use it for a ministry or a business. But interested parties have deemed it too large for the population of this area, plus it does not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it would require an incredible amount of renovation expense.

“While sitting idle, Madonna Hall has inevitably deteriorated. The economic reality is too much to ignore. Although it will be difficult to see this building gone, we look forward to how opening up this area will provide opportunities for sustainability and growth. It will allow us to create a closer entrance to our church that is more accessible for the sisters and monastery guests, particularly those with mobility issues. In addition, it enables us to invest our finances more into ministries and the people we serve and less into an aging facility.”