Diocesan Bishop Lane Retreat Center Renovated
New Entrance Makes Main Building More Accessible
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
December 6, 2018
ROCKFORD—Making Bishop Lane Retreat Center ”handicapped accessible ... was our number one goal,” says Kristen Sapoznik, director of  the center southwest of Rockford.
Although the second floor of the retreat center’s main building has long been accessible via a back driveway and a door leading into its chapel, the first floor of that 50-plus year old building had multiple steps and two sets of doors at its entrance. 
The renovations begun in August and completed in October allow people who can’t climb stairs — and anyone carrying or wheeling luggage — to use a ramp for easy access to the lobby and several first
floor sleeping rooms. 
The updated lobby is both accessible and more welcoming. A painting of the building that previously hung in the entrance hall is a focal point and a small fireplace graces another wall. 
Bishop Lane Retreat Center facilities
The original, Main Building, is the first one sees beyond wide expanses of lawn when driving into Bishop Lane Retreat Center. In addition to the newly created small meeting rooms, it features a large library that also provides meeting space and a chapel on the second floor. 
Another large meeting room is down a few steps from the first floor, which opens on the east to a patio topped with a pergola. 
Bedrooms are located on both floors and have their own bathrooms. The dining room for the entire complex is located on the second floor.
Next door is a small building, once called the convent and now referred to as the Flat House. This building has four small rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a narrow “living room” meeting space. Small groups can use this space for a day meeting, and they can sleep in the main building at night if their stay is longer.
The Youth Building is located to the left up a hill past the Main Building and Flat House. It is handicapped accessible with large meeting rooms, a break room, and two, separated, hallways of bedrooms with bunk beds and a common bathroom in each hallway.
With increasing business, the kitchen staff at Bishop Lane has grown and the manager “does a great job making (food) from scratch,” says director Kristen Sapoznik. “Groups can leave it up to us” to choose the menu, she says, “or we have a menu (for them to choose from). We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions.”
Learn more 
Phone: 815/965-5011
Holiday hours
Bishop Lane Retreat Center will have reduced house the last two weeks of December to allow the staff to do a deep cleaning. Hours from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2 will be:
Monday: Closed 
Tuesdays 8:30 a.m.-noon (except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1)
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-noon
Thursday and Friday: Closed
Pictures of Bishop Loras T. Lane (for whom the retreat center is named), Bishop David Malloy and Pope Francis are hung near the registration desk.
The Bishop Lane staff painted the lobby themselves to help the retreat center save on renovations costs.
An accessible bathroom for families was created right off the lobby, and three staff offices — originally the living quarters for the retreat center’s resident priest — were divided into two meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of 10-20 people.
Sapoznik says parish staffs, high school retreats, and many day-only groups will benefit from those two new meeting rooms, even if they also use the building’s two large meeting spaces. 
“Groups,” she says, “are always in need of small group  spaces” for “break-out” sessions.
Sapoznik’s office and a secretary’s desk were moved from the office space off the lobby into the former bookstore, located left of the entrance. Part of that space remains in disarray.
“Right after we finished this (office), we had foundation issues,” Sapoznik says. 
Evidence of ongoing repairs from a flood that followed includes tools and cleaning supplies on the floor and a variety of items on a table. 
Even so, the framed quotes and formerly-stored art that decorate the office shows that the many-windowed space soon will look both bright and beautiful.