The Undercroft Classroom is located in the basement of Trinity Chapel on Merchant Street, directly across from the Trinity Commons Hall.
The Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, dean and president, led a blessing at the dedication, which was attended by members of Trinity and local community.
“We needed more space and behold more space has come to be,” Terry said, adding that he was thankful for all of the people who contributed.
Work started in late April and lasted about five months. The expanded classroom now includes new ceiling, wall covering, flooring, wiring, lighting, paint, classroom furnishings and emergency exit fire doors. The room also has new computers with audio and visual equipment, two equipped restrooms with new plumbing, and a break area with a coffee bar.
Karen Getz, dean of administration, said the room could be used for meetings and conferences.
The building was formerly a Presbyterian church that merged with another. The chapel was the first building Trinity purchased as a school in the 1970s, in addition to an A&P grocery store. The seminary operated out of the chapel for about a year until the other building was renovated.
Upstairs, the chapel’s primary use is for worship and evening prayer. With some of the new classrooms coming to be and other buildings being constructed, there was less of a need to use the lower level.
“This space kind of fell into disrepair,” said the Rev. Chris Klukas, director of communications.
But with the growth and expansion of Trinity in recent years, particularly during January and June, came the need for more space. Klukas said sometimes 150 to 200 people come at one time, which requires more classroom space to accommodate everyone. School officials decided to “recapture the space and revitalize it into something beautiful,” he said.
Barb Costa, community liaison, said the room was the first that she had a class in when she came here 13 years ago. Costa also noted that Ambridge Councilman Tony Cafarelli’s father was one of the stone masons who helped build the original Presbyterian church.
The classroom will be used for two classes this fall, when the semester starts for Trinity students on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Orientation for new students began Wednesday evening.
“Trinity’s classroom learning opportunities and faculty are growing to meet the ever-increasing demand and need for the Lord’s highest quality preparation for lay and ordained ministry and practical continuing education,” said the Rev. Benjamin Wright, assistant dean of administration and church relations.