Franciscan Renewal Center hosts grand opening for new building

The grand opening and blessing of the new Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Community Life Center took place at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley, Sunday, June 9.

From left: Steve Lyons; Paradise Valley Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner and son; Paul N.Critchfield; Joseph Schwab; Reed Leskosky; Dan Clevenger; Claudia Critchfield; Laurie Devine. (Submitted photo)

This structure marks the final new construction project of the Master Plan for expansion and improvements, approved by the Franciscan Friars Province of St. Barbara and the FRC Board of Directors in 2011.

Designed with meeting rooms, high-tech audio/visual and a catering kitchen, the building increases the center’s capacity to meet the growing demand for nonprofit meeting and conference space on its 25-acre campus, according to a press release.

Other uses for the solar-powered net-zero electricity building include center-sponsored retreats, workshops, classes, special events, hands-on learning spaces for the Family Catechesis Program, volunteer training, choir practice and liturgy office.

This largest meeting space on the campus means there will be a total of over 17,000 square feet available for conferences and activities, according to a release.

“We as Trustees and staff (of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust) truly salute the great benefactors, volunteers, Casa friars and staff, and special committees that have made this wonderful Community Life Center happen,” Paul N. Critchfield, nephew of Virginia G. Piper and lifetime trustee, said in a letter to the community,

“It will help all of us find new ways to grow and to serve and help each other. On behalf of the Trustees, we are very happy to be partners with the Casa community.”

Virginia G. Piper’s other philanthropic projects at the center include the 1971 renovation and expansion of the Chapel, dedicated in memory of her first husband, Paul V. Galvin; and Piper Hall, in memory of her second husband, Kenneth M. Piper.

All FRC Master Plan projects were fully funded by grants and donations. Those projects include:

  • Infrastructure additions and improvements
  • Perricone Plaza guest rooms and swimming pool/spa remodel in 2013
  • The new Assisi Guest Lodge with 32 additional overnight guest rooms in 2015
  • The new Conventual Church of Our Lady of the Angels in 2017
  • Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Community Life Center in 2019

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