In a last-ditch effort to raise money for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants that many students fear they may be expected to pay, Interim President John Pelissero, Ph.D., announced a new plan to take down Damen Student Center, citing the building as one of Loyola’s biggest financial costs.
“I thought about raising tuition again to generate some extra money, but the students would probably revolt if I did,” said Pelissero. “So, I thought to myself, ‘What would Father Garanzini do?’”
Beginning sometime in the next few months and ending sometime in “the near future-ish,” he said, Damen will undergo deconstruction. Pelissero said he hopes that what the university now spends on the building’s upkeep and maintenance, as well as the cost of employment at the food court, Ireland’s and the dining hall, will be enough to cover the costs of the MAP grant — a form of financial aid for Illinois residents that the state has currently halted the funding for at universities across the state.
Many students are excited by the prospect of new construction on campus.
Patty McQue, a 21-year-old senior biology student, said he looks forward to demolition day.
“Honestly, I was getting pretty bored walking around a campus with no fences, stone piles or construction equipment,” McQue said. “Freshman year, it took me an extra 10 minutes to get to class, and I always had the perfect excuse for being late. Now, the best I can say is, ‘Uh, the shuttle was delayed.’ And that isn’t even true, because I only take classes on Lake Shore Campus.”
McQue also said the campus just looks “dull” without all the construction.
Other seniors see the construction as a fond reminder of the university’s former president, the Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J.
“It’s great that we’re doing this,” said Daytona Yellowstone, 22. “It’s like Garanzini’s vision of a constantly under-construction campus is a reality again. He must be thrilled.”
Grass Williams, a 2013 Loyola graduate, reached out to The Kleenix to explicitly express her frustrations. In her four years at Loyola, the campus was always under construction, she said. By the time she left, Damen wasn’t yet complete.
“I was going to come back to campus next fall to finally see its completion,” she said. “It figures that by the time I make it to Chicago to check out Damen, maybe see a movie or grab a beer, Loyola goes and tears it down.”
Most students, however, are indifferent about the idea of tearing down Damen to raise money for MAP grant recipients.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” said one sophomore sociology major. “What’s a MAP grant, anyway?”