Construction of a new $47 million residence hall on the south side of Loyola’s campus is on budget and on time for an August 2020 opening, officials said.
The dorm will be located on North Winthrop Avenue near Simpson Hall and was originally set to be called St. Joseph. However, it will now be named Francis Hall after Pope Francis — the head of the Catholic Church and a member of its Jesuit order of priests, who run Loyola.
The name change was a result of Loyola’s purchase of the St. Joseph College Seminary in April for extra student housing after its closure, according to Deb Schmidt-Rogers, the assistant vice president and director of Residence Life at Loyola. She said the old seminary will still be named St. Joseph Hall as a dorm.
Francis Hall will have 280 beds for first-year honors students — who are currently housed in Campion Hall — and 108 beds for non-honors sophomores, Schmidt-Rogers said, but the university could potentially reconfigure who’s housed there in the future.
Construction of Francis Hall required the demolition of Loyola’s Alumni House and a Loyola-owned apartment building, causing the Edgewater Historical Society to rally against the university’s plans, The Phoenix reported.
The bottom floor of the building will have administrative offices for the honors program, faculty offices, a smart classroom — equipped with computers, projectors and other technology, multipurpose space and a small cafe similar to Engrained in San Francisco Hall, according to Schmidt-Rogers.
Jennifer O’Brien, Loyola’s associate director for housing operations, said the multi-purpose space will be open to everyone on campus and will be similar in concept to the first floor of the building which houses the Institute of Environmental Sustainability and San Francisco Hall.
Additionally, Francis Hall will have a security desk, resident director offices, a kitchen for residents and an apartment for Loyola’s first faculty in residence, O’Brien said.
The plan for Campion Hall after the honors program moves to Francis Hall is unknown and will be dependent on enrollment trends, O’Brien said.
“There’s not an immediate plan for Campion to go away,” O’Brien said. “We will very likely open next year with Campion still in use, although we are not currently 100 percent sure of what that population is going to be. I think our enrollment and what our freshman class size will be will somewhat dictate that, but Campion will be in the mix again for next year.”