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Fort Smith’s former monastery building to be demolished in June



A 97-year-old former monastery building will be torn down in Fort Smith in June, Jennifer Burchett, a spokesperson for the Saint Scholastica Monastery, announced.The historic building in Fort Smith was completed in 1924. It has served as a school as well as a monastic home to Benedictine Sisters in Arkansas.The group has spent years deciding what to do with the building. Flooding and leaking pipes caused water damage that led to mold. This has made the building unsafe, Burchett wrote. It would cost $15 million to renovate the building and bring it up to code.The sisters moved into a new, smaller monastery building in 2019.Demolition is scheduled to begin in the old monastery building on June 1, 2022.The late Gothic Revival monastery was designed by architect F.W. Redlick in Oklahoma City and was built in 1923 and 1924. Since then, a chapel, gym, swimming pool, and chaplain’s quarters were added.The building once housed St. Scholastica Academy. That ended in 1958 when a new academy building was built.St. Scholastica peaked in population in the 1950s and 1960s, with about 300 members in the monastery. It began to decline in the 1970s, along with the popularity of religious communities across the United States.There are now 24 members of St. Scholastica. Sixteen live at the monastery.

A 97-year-old former monastery building will be torn down in Fort Smith in June, Jennifer Burchett, a spokesperson for the Saint Scholastica Monastery, announced.

The historic building in Fort Smith was completed in 1924. It has served as a school as well as a monastic home to Benedictine Sisters in Arkansas.

The group has spent years deciding what to do with the building. Flooding and leaking pipes caused water damage that led to mold. This has made the building unsafe, Burchett wrote. It would cost $15 million to renovate the building and bring it up to code.

The sisters moved into a new, smaller monastery building in 2019.

Demolition is scheduled to begin in the old monastery building on June 1, 2022.

The late Gothic Revival monastery was designed by architect F.W. Redlick in Oklahoma City and was built in 1923 and 1924. Since then, a chapel, gym, swimming pool, and chaplain’s quarters were added.

The building once housed St. Scholastica Academy. That ended in 1958 when a new academy building was built.

St. Scholastica peaked in population in the 1950s and 1960s, with about 300 members in the monastery. It began to decline in the 1970s, along with the popularity of religious communities across the United States.

There are now 24 members of St. Scholastica. Sixteen live at the monastery.



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