Located in the basement of Shove Chapel, Sacred Grounds is a welcoming and multi-purpose space. It is the home to spiritual community meetings, community support groups, and the Sacred Grounds Coffee and Tea House that runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
With several changes to Colorado College’s community outreach programs, including the closing of the soup kitchen, in addition to 24 years of use, it was time to upgrade and transform the whole of Sacred Grounds.
The goal of the newly renovated space is to create a sense of warmth and tradition. The room is filled with mismatched furniture, curved wood, and lots and lots of comfy patterned pillows.
During the planning process, student input was critical to keep what people loved despite removing the harsh angles and boxy levels. The objective was to transform Sacred Grounds, while keeping a sense of student ownership and a welcoming, supportive, and safe place. Furthermore, great attention was paid to sustainability.
The guiding metaphor during the renovation, as suggested by Electra Johnson, wife of Scott Johnson (Director of Studio Art at Colorado College), was for the space and energy to “flow like a river,” said Chaplain Bruce Coriell. It begins at the door, and flows downward. “As it passes, it creates eddies that are still open to the rest of the space. I like to think of them as little pools of tranquility,” he said.
Functionality is up, Coriell points out. The new Sacred Grounds has more flexible space and function, a renovated kitchen, and a completely new AV system.
While Sacred Grounds was under renovation, the spiritual community moved most of their events into the Interfaith House on Yampa. However, there were some difficulties operating out of the Interfaith House. “At the beginning of the year, we had between 45 and 50 people show up to our early meetings,” said Coriell, about Shove Council, an open and informal student-led discussion group open to everyone. Unfortunately, the Interfaith House has limited room, so attendance dropped. “One thing I’ve noticed about space is that if people show up to an event and the space doesn’t accommodate them, over time they just stop coming.” Along with space issues, the Interfaith House is less accessible than Sacred Grounds.
Sacred Grounds opened Wednesday, Nov. 4, with the hope that the new space will “host good conversations, vulnerability, and love, in order to foster community,” said junior Sacred Grounds Intern Lykkefry Bonde.
Currently, Sacred Grounds is hosting events like Open Mic, TED Talks, and Shove Council Wednesdays during lunch. In addition, they are looking at creating a family friendly night geared towards kids, and, as Coriell points out, lots of events with food.
“I think the new space is just a good space,” junior and Spiral Fellow Natasha Riveron notes. “It’s less boxy and really reflects the values of our community. I’m excited to see what happens next.”
“We’ll be here a while,” Coriell says. “And we’ll just keep on collecting good energy.”