.- The church to be built on Ave Maria University campus near Naples, Fla., has been redesigned to one-third of its originally planned size. University founder Thomas Monaghan made the announcement Thursday. Ave Maria is the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in 40 years.
The 68-year-old founder of Domino’s Pizza is building the university and town of Ave Maria in partnership with the Baron Collier Cos.
The new design will seat 1,100 people instead of 3,300 and will cost $24 million rather than nearly $100 million. The stone façade will soar 100 feet over gothic-style arches instead of 150 feet. However, the new design, like the original, includes a skylight that will line the roof ridge.
Monaghan told the Orlando Sentinel that he made the decision in order to have more resources to put toward developing the university.
Construction of the church is scheduled to begin next spring. It is expected to be ready in the fall of 2007, when the university begins to offer classes on its permanent campus.
The permanent campus is currently under construction on fields that were donated by the Collier Cos. In the meantime, 300 students are studying on an interim campus in Naples.