Cumberland Times-News

Local News

June 22, 2011

Meditation retreat locating in Hampshire County

Project manager calls center a ‘modern-day monastery’

THREE CHURCHES, W.Va. — Nestled in the mountains far from the city, a new retreat is taking shape outside of Three Churches. The Global Country of World Peace’s Transcendental Meditation Learning Center and Retreat is designed for men living a life involving TM.

“This community is basically a modern-day monastery,” said Larry Brown, project manager.

Sitting on 700 acres of land, the retreat is being built by the Global Country of World Peace, the founders of TM, and Brown said is not a religion, but a type of spirituality. According to the Global Country online source, the TM movement involves meditation for 15 to 20 minutes per day in a comfortable position. The site says that TM does not need lifestyle changes or a specific belief, but that it is a type of meditation that “is distinguished by its naturalness, effortlessness and profound effectiveness.”

The beginning stages of the men’s-only retreat includes 10 residence buildings, an office building and a dining hall. The residence buildings each feature 10 single-person apartments.

“Other buildings are in distant plans,” said Tim Fitzrandolph, construction supervisor.

Fitzrandolph said that people will use the facility for varying lengths of time. Some of the men will come for weekend retreats and there will be others who stay for years. Brown added that the space is mainly for men who have spent years practicing TM and want to live a simple way of life.

“(It’s for) people that have dreams ... to live a simple life,” said Brown.

The dining hall will have a commercial kitchen with two separate dining rooms and can accommodate just under 200 people.

Fitzrandolph said that one of the goals of the TM group when building it was to have the space be energy-efficient. The apartment buildings are unique to the area and each outside wall is 13 inches thick, with a densely packed insulation. The technique comes out of Europe, said Brown, and is called a passive house. The inside walls also are heavily insulated so that in both summer and winter, minimal electricity is used to regulate the temperature.

“Very little energy is used to heat or cool,” said Fitzrandolph.

To help keep the air inside the apartments fresh, there is an energy system that expels the stale air and infiltrates fresh air. The fresh air system is also ecofriendly and the advanced technology pulls the heat out of the stale air, retains it and then heats the fresh air.

“It is very energy-efficient,” said Fitzrandolph.

The facility is completely self-contained and has a sewer and water treatment plant on the grounds.

Fitzrandolph said that future plans include expansion and creating a space for people new to TM to learn about it through workshops. Eventually, there will be a recreation hall, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

The new facility is also creating jobs. Brown said that local construction workers are being used in the project and when completed, they will employ a kitchen and housekeeping staff.

“This project has been a significant project for the area,” said Brown.

 Emily Newman can be contacted at enewman@times-news.com.

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