Welcome Center Lower Level Nearly Complete

December 12, 2019

The lower level of the Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives is nearly complete, which means steel beams and the first floor will be put into place soon.construction update as of dec 12 2019

As of mid-November, all the lower level walls, except for the east wall, are in place. The east end of the lower level remains open for the heavy equipment to enter and exit the work space. Several methods of waterproofing are being applied to the walls to protect the archives, which will be in the west end of the lower level, to preserve the Felician Sisters' heritage in museum-quality conditions.

After the foundation is finished, the area outside the lower-level walls will be filled in with a foot of dirt at a time, which is compacted; then the process is repeated, using most of the fill dirt saved from the initial excavation. Geothermal wells, now covered with more fill dirt, soon will be piped from the wells into one corner of the lower level. Saving the dirt for reuse and installing geothermal wells are just two ways the Welcome Center project reflects the University’s Franciscan value of reverence for creation.

After the lower level walls have been completed and the dirt backfilled, steel beams will be put into place via cranes. Concrete floors will then be poured for the lower level and for the first floor, and the building really will begin to take shape over the next few months.

Welcome Center Lower Level Takes Shape

October 22, 2019

concrete pouring for october updateWhile most of the work on the new Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives has been occurring underground, the building took a significant step forward in recent weeks with beginning of the concrete pouring within the lower level.

After 18 inches of limestone was spread over the ground where the lower level floor will be, the concrete foundations were poured. About 100 feet of foundation concrete has been poured every couple of days. Now that the foundations are completed, the underfloor drainage tiles will be installed, wall forms will be erected, and exterior walls poured (currently in progress). Walls are expected to be under construction through October/early November.

pouring of concrete for october updateThe floor is being poured in two stages, because floor rails will be inlaid to accommodate the extensive archive filing system planned for the space. The Felician Sisters were founded in 1855, so there are nearly 165 years of newspaper clippings, records, and other memorabilia that will be kept in the lower-level Heritage Center and Archives.

Elsewhere on the construction site, work is completed on the geothermal wells, which reach 14 stories below ground (photo above right). The displaced dirt and mud has been saved to reuse during the construction process, saving both money and resources.

In the next few weeks, crews will bring temporary electric power to the site via an underground conduit from the Administration Building. The final details also are being ironed out for gas and sewer lines. Site lighting will be put into place soon, and the piles of dirt are expected to be moved out before winter, as long as the weather cooperates.

Lower level in progress, geothermal wells dug

September 17, 2019

construction update sept 2019 1What is now gravel will be the main floor where the Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives will be located, and where the Welcome Center Great Room for University events will be housed. The large hole next to it is the lower level where the University archives will be kept. A retention pond is south of the building closest to Schoolcraft Road. 

construction update sept 2019 2The crew from Midwest GeoThermal last week bored the first dozen of 36 geothermal wells for a geothermal heating system. Each well is 460 feet deep (the length of one and a half football fields). Geothermal heat pumps will use the ground as a heat exchanger via a closed-loop water circuit that runs through 6.5 miles of tubing underground and into the building.

This system will save on heating and cooling costs, and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

The project is on schedule to have the shell and roof up by mid- to late- December so that construction inside can continue through the winter months.

First phase of construction encompasses Franciscan Values

August 14, 2019

image from construction aug 1 2019The first few months of construction on the Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives are in the books, and the Franciscan value of “reverence for creation” is evident around the construction site. Site preparation began shortly after the groundbreaking ceremony in May.

What was formerly part of the parking lot and green space, is now many large piles of approximately 6,000 cubic yards of topsoil and about 3,000 cubic yards of pulverized asphalt. These materials are being stored for re-use as the project progresses. This process is more environmentally-friendly than using all-new materials and it’s also more cost-effective.

Within the next week or so, crews are anticipating installing a geothermal heating system, which includes 33 wells to be drilled about 400 feet into the ground. Geothermal heat pumps use the ground as a heat exchanger via a closed-loop water circuit. Because the earth is a constant 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit, this system saves on heating and cooling costs, and reduces the use of fossil fuels. 

Recently, crews have been busy digging the retention pond, at the southwest part of the site closest to Schoolcraft Road, and have installed the drainage system for the parking lot. They have dug out the lower level of the new building, are finishing up water tap connection work, and next week will lay drain tile under the lower level floor before pouring the lower level concrete floor. They are working toward a goal of having the shell of the building complete before the weather changes, so that construction can continue through the winter.

Madonna University and Felician Sisters Break Ground for New Center

May 19, 2019

LIVONIA, MICH. - More than 100 alumni, faculty, staff, and benefactors sloshed through the pouring rain to join Madonna University President Michael Grandillo, the Felician Sisters of North America, and the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, as they broke ground to begin construction of a $9 million, 28,000-square-foot Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives.




To celebrate Madonna University’s rich heritage and contributions to the community, Madonna University trustees and administrators have developed plans for a Madonna University Welcome Center and Felician Sisters of North America Heritage Center and Archives that will:

  • Be a physical demonstration of the University's commitment to providing a caring, personalized, values-based learning community.
  • Include the Felician Heritage Center, home to the priceless archives of the University’s visionary founders — the Felician Sisters.
  • Significantly enhance how the University recruits new students, celebrates alumni and donors and preserves its Felician history.

Madonna University will utilize the Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center and its Great Room for campus visits, art exhibitions, banquets, and large gatherings, which will provide students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to build relationships with members of the diverse southeast Michigan communities in which they live, work, worship, and play.

A Welcome Place to Start


Welcome Center design blueprint

The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center building design is reflective of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Central Italy. It will maintain the Basilica’s sanctuary feeling with an open interior, meandering paths, special repetition of columns, and a center for gathering, reflection and learning.

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Welcome Center courtyard design

The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center will include space for the Felician Heritage Center, exhibition space, a multipurpose space, administrative offices, archives, art gallery, cafe, gardens, and more.


Welcome Center overhead design preview

The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center will blend the past, present, and future, and will serve as a University resource for important work. The success of this campaign will result in a myriad of uses and benefits to a growing and enduring University.

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Smiling Student

The Welcome Center and Felician Sisters Heritage Center will integrate the University's mission and core values, serve as an inviting first point of contact for future students, expand the University's involvement in the community, and add needed space for student fellowship and classwork.

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