St. John's Seminary

Padre Margil Pilgrimage Center & Event Center
Delivery Method
Archdiocese of San Antonio
Fisher Heck

Tucked behind Mission Concepcion, south of downtown, stood the forgotten remnants of St. John's Seminary. Years of neglect had taken their toll; the campus sat in disrepair, fading into obscurity. But within the Archdiocese of San Antonio, a spark of hope lit a vision to bring new life and purpose to the old campus. The Archdiocese embarked on their mission of renewal, with Marksmen GC as their contractor and guide.

Amidst the decrepitude and decay, they saw potential. Graffiti marred the walls, garbage littered the grounds, and the buildings were falling apart. Unforeseen challenges threatened to derail the project at every turn. The structural instability of the chapel's glue-laminated beams threatened the building's collapse. As the project awaited redesign, the pandemic struck, disrupting supply chains and schedules. But the Archdiocese saw through the decay and the setbacks, sights set on a space with beauty and purpose.

As the project progressed, the transformation was nothing short of remarkable. Graffiti-covered walls gave way to pristine finishes. Connecting the buildings, the unruly courtyard transformed into a peaceful oasis. The chapel, now a pilgrimage center, glistened with new stained glass and restored glue-laminated beams. It welcomes visitors eager to explore the rich history of World Heritage Missions. The former cafeteria, now an event space, features a masterfully crafted acoustic ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows. The other side of the building, originally the kitchen, hosts offices for Catholic charities. The bathrooms, adorned with hand-painted tiles, separate the two sides of the building.

In the end, the Archdiocese emerged triumphant, their vision realized, their mission fulfilled. The project stands as a testament to a team that discovered clarity amidst the chaos. The completion of St. John's Seminary did more than restore a couple of old buildings. It revitalized a community, redefined a construction process, and realized a vision for the future of the San Antonio Missions.

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