The new barracks of the Vatican Swiss guards will be built to accommodate female members if Pope Francis or his successors allow women to join the elite and colorfully dressed force.

Officials of the Swiss foundation that is raising the estimated 45 million Swiss Francs ($46 million) to replace the current 150-year-old barracks signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vatican’s Secretary of State on Wednesday.

“The project includes single rooms with private bathrooms,” Riccardo Boscardin, an executive of the foundation, said in the courtyard of the barracks after the signing.

“There are two reasons. One is because COVID hit when the project started and the second is the possibility of integrating women into the guard,” Boscardin said.

“But this decision is not ours, but exclusively that of the Vatican and the pope,” he said.

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