Maintenance to chapel moves Campus Ministry to local church

Following a sewage line leak before a summer wedding on July 10, the West Liberty University (WLU) Chapel closed for ongoing maintenance, forcing Campus Ministry to relocate their services to the basement of the West Liberty Methodist Presbyterian Church located across from the WLU University Place apartment complexes.

Soon after the issue was discovered, maintenance and summer housing staff were notified and bathrooms in Arnett were opened for all wedding guests. According to Diann Nickerson, director of Campus Ministry, the incident did not deter the wedding or reception from taking place.

Director of Physical Plant, Joe Mills, evaluated the chapel a week after the incident took place and determined that the damage would shut the chapel down until the proper assessment and repairs could be made. As of now, no events or services can be held inside the chapel due to ongoing maintenance.

The status of sewage line work on the chapel is unknown. In addition to problems associated with sewage, Nickerson said that maintenance and contractors must also evaluate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system as well as the leaking roof.

Losing this space on campus has impacted Campus Ministry’s involvement on campus and groups who typically utilize the space. For example, Nickerson stated that the International Student Office held many events in the social hall of the chapel and must now make arrangements in another space for International Student Month in November.

“Losing space in the chapel not only impacts Campus Ministry but also student groups, classes and musical departments. Last year, classes were held in the chapel and there was a spring music concert. Numerous groups used the kitchen and social hall on a weekly basis, so all those groups now need to compete for other spaces on campus,” said Nickerson.

A current member of Greek life, Courtney Ellifritz, stated that the chapel is utilized by her sorority, Beta Rho Epsilon, for new member initiations but they must now consider alternative locations due to its closure.

Students can now visit Campus Ministry at their temporary location at West Liberty Methodist Presbyterian Church, also known as the Federated Church located beside the University Place apartments.

Nickerson commented on the relocation by stating, “I was disappointed a place on campus couldn’t be found because being on campus is crucial for student involvement. The chapel is located on the quad which makes it right in the heart of the campus.”

This is not the only maintenance issue the chapel has experienced. Last spring, the facility experienced flooding around the windows which reached the social hall, foyer and sanctuary. Heating and air conditioning issues have also been a recent problem reported by Nickerson and former pastor, Debra Dague.

Nickerson said, “The Chapel is on the quad, the center of campus, for a reason. Dr. Paul Elbin was president of West Liberty from 1935 to 1970. He thought that it was important to combine academics and spiritual life. Dr. Elbin believed `the purpose of a college education (was) to stimulate and assist the development of young lives along lines of intellectual, social, moral, spiritual, and physical growth’.”

For more information regarding how to get involved with Campus Ministry at their new location, contact Nickerson at (304) 312-0347 or email her at [email protected].

While the chapel remains closed for repairs, students and organizations can reserve facilities or rooms on campus by filling out a room reservation request form on