In 1896, Benedictine monks bought an existing stone farmhouse and a 104-acre farm for slightly more than six thousand dollars. This transaction laid the framework for what is now a portion of the Benedictine University Campus. The stone farmhouse was constructed by an immigrant from France, Morris Neff, in 1852; making it one of the oldest structures in DuPage County. The University approached ICI and their campus architect with their vision for re-purposing the structure into the Neff Welcome Center.
The plan included a major overhaul of the building – the four exterior walls are all that remain of the original structure. The first floor, second floor and roof were removed and a 2,089 square foot expansion was added to the south end of the building.
Great effort was placed in matching the stone of the existing farmhouse in the expansion. The limestone façade was harvested from a local quarry which is thought to have provided the material for the original building.
Preservation of the history of the interior of the building was also paramount. The materials, décor and artwork highlight the history of the building and its significance to Benedictine University.
The center will serve as the focal welcoming point on campus for new and prospective students and their families as they enter campus. Alumni and visitor events will also be hosted in the center. Additionally, the University’s Admissions Department offices will be housed in the new center.
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