Alexandria City Council gave permission Saturday for the Virginia Theological Seminary to build a new chapel to replace one that burned in 2010.
The new, 20,000-square-foot chapel will be certified LEED Silver and have a 100-foot-tall steeple. The seminary also has plans to renovate and build a 900-square-foot addition to Packard-Laird Hall, which serves as its welcome center.
The new chapel will be built between the welcome center and the Federal House. The plan also includes improvements to the Seminary Road entrance, reconfiguration of some parking spaces and traffic circulation improvements.
The chapel’s design incorporates the architectural history of Anglican churches in Virginia and includes elements of Georgian and Romanesque styles, according to city documents. The facade would be made of red brick.
Jack Sullivan, representing the executive board of the Seminary Hill Association, was the lone speaker on the matter on Saturday. He said the association strongly supported the proposal.
“The seminary is a jewel in Alexandria,” he said. “It suffered a great loss when the chapel burned.”
Immanuel Church on the Hill, which is located directly across from the seminary, sent a letter of support to the Planning Commission when it unanimously approved the proposal on Dec. 4.
The seminary, one of the oldest educational institutions in Northern Virginia, was established in Old Town Alexandria in 1823. Shortly thereafter, the seminary moved to its current location at the intersection of Seminary Road and Quaker Lane, according to the city.
The previous Immanuel Chapel, which was built in 1881, burned in an October 2010 fire. Parishioners have been using a converted auditoruim in an academic building since the fire destroyed the chapel.
Remaining portions of the burned chapel are being saved to incorporate into a memorial garden.