CHRIST CATHEDRAL: A CAMPUS IN TRANSITION

Beverli LeguaChrist Cathedral News, News You Can Use

ILLUSTRATION BY FRED MATAMOROS

BY: ORANGE COUNTY CATHOLIC
March 14, 2016

AN OVERVIEW OF THE WORK THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED SINCE THE DIOCESE ACQUIRED THE FORMER CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL

Over the past four years the Christ Cathedral campus has quickly become a beautiful, updated and vibrant center for our Diocese. Beginning in January of 2012 with the renovation of the Arboretum and Neutra complex to ready the facility for the more than 10,000 parishioners from St. Callistus Parish, the transformation and restoration of the campus has moved quickly forward. The Arboretum renovation was begun earlier than planned because Crystal Cathedral Ministries departed the campus two years ahead of schedule and was completed in just six short months. The ambitious work completed on the Neutra-designed building has been recognized with a Modernism in America Citation of Merit from Docomomo US and an award from the American Institute of Architects. The Pastoral Center, a Christ Cathedral Academy, and Tower of Hope have all been completed and staff, students and faculty have moved into their offices and classrooms.

TOWER OF HOPE

Designed by Richard Neutra and his son Dion, the 13-story Tower of Hope first opened in 1968. Named after New Hope Ministries, this building housed the very first 24-hour suicide prevention hotline (714-NEW-HOPE), which today continues under the auspices of Catholic Charities of Orange County. Topped by a 90-foot neon-lit cross, the Tower of Hope was the tallest building in Orange County at its opening and held this distinction for over 10 years. On the top floor is the 130-seat ecumenical Chapel in the Sky, with breathtaking panoramic views of Orange County. The Tower of Hope has undergone a $6-million renovation and seismic upgrade and houses the offices of the Cathedral Parish and Christ Catholic Cathedral Corp., the entity that manages the extensive Christ Cathedral site. EWTN Global Catholic Network also has its West Coast television news and broadcast facility located here and the newly minted Diocesan radio production facility is located in the tower. The ninth floor of the tower houses executive office suites for worldwide Catholic ministries, including the Augustine Institute, Magis Institute, Dynamic Catholic, Pontifical Mission Society, and other leading organizations.

ARBORETUM

The completely renovated temporary worship space for Christ Cathedral parish, offering Mass in English, Vietnamese and Spanish. Known as a titan of mid-century modern architecture, Richard Neutra designed the Arboretum, a 22,288-square-foot structure built in 1962, to serve as the original sanctuary for the Rev. Robert Schuller’s congregation. Rev. Schuller would speak to up to 1,400 churchgoers inside the Arboretum, and walk outside on the balcony to address additional congregants parked in 500 cars, just as he used to do at the drive-in theatre where he first preached. Because of the age and delicate state of the Arboretum, diocesan crews took it down to steel and dirt and conducted extensive renovations, including creation of an innovative and energy-efficient underground air conditioning system. Also completed were seismic strengthening, glass replacement, landscaping and other aesthetic renovations. Since every element was specifically designed by the original architect, the diocese studied archival records to ensure that every dimension and pane of glass matched original specifications. Completed in just six months, the Arboretum’s amazing renovation has won several awards. Currently used as a worship space by Christ Cathedral parishioners, it will function as their home church until the future Christ Cathedral is completed.

CHRIST CATHEDRAL ACADEMY

Housed within the first and second floors of the Pastoral Center building, St. Callistus Catholic School was relocated in 2013 to these new facilities and renamed Christ Cathedral Academy. This Catholic school, now in its third academic year and is accepting new students with classes for preschoolers through eighth grade. Offering innovative curricula from highly trained staff, Christ Cathedral Academy is a state of the art educational facility, featuring a full-sized gymnasium, dance studio, science lab, and more.

MEMORIAL GARDENS

A more than one acre expansion of the Cathedral Memorial Gardens cemetery will be included as part of phase one. The cost of the cemetery expansion is estimated at $7.5 million and will be funded outside the capital campaign. The cemetery will offer needed interment space in the heart of Orange County and will serve as an important revenue channel for the operation of the campus in coming years.

THE PASTORAL CENTER

The doors opened to this building in 1990, at a cost of $25 million. Designed by Gin Wong and Associates, the former Family Life Center served for many years as the Crystal Cathedral Academy. Featuring 132,000 square feet, the third and fourth floors now house the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Pastoral Center, home to the offices of The Most Reverend Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange and the ministries of the diocese. These offices were originally located at Marywood in the City of Orange and moved to these new facilities in 2013. The first and second floors are now home to the Cathedral Academy, a state of the art educational facility. Gin Wong and Associates are also known for designing the Arco Tower and Midnight Mission in Los Angeles, as well as working on the futuristic Theme Building at LAX.

Total size of campus: 34 acres
Total number of buildings: 7
Total square footage: more than 320,000
Total parking: more than 1,650 spaces

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