Construction Closes Alfie Walkway Near Damen Student Center

Construction on pipe work has caused the walkway next to the Alfie Practice Facility to be closed until May 1.

The walkway outside the Alfie Norville Practice Facility will be closed until May 1 due to construction to fix leaking underground pipes.

The project will replace the original piping for Mertz Residence Hall and is a continuation of sidewalk construction started in December to replace the first section of piping, according to Kana Henning, senior associate vice president for facilities.

“We had a few leaks in the past that we had to repair,” Henning said. “It just got to the point where we didn’t want to continue to chase leak after leak. It made the most sense to just address that remaining section of older, chilled water lines and make them more reliable permanently going forward.” 

A pipe burst on Dec. 24, 2022 caused water damage from flooding in floors two through 11 in Mertz, causing some residents to temporarily be moved to other residence halls upon returning to campus after winter break. Students affected by the flooding were able to move back into Mertz by Feb. 13, The Phoenix previously reported. 

Loyola facilities’ May 1 deadline is to ensure the construction doesn’t interrupt finals and is complete before air conditioning units are installed in Mertz, according to Hennnig. The project has been broken up into two phases according to Henning.

A new temporary entrance on the east side of the Damen Student Center has opened as a result of the blocked pathway.

“We asked the Damen Student Center if we could temporarily open those doors by the information desk, so that we can help mitigate any inconveniences or detours during that time,” Henning said. “We wanted to create another alternative route.”

Junior Hason Soine said he is frustrated with the lack of walkway access around the construction and hopes the new Damen entrance will be permanent.

“I feel like there could be a little way to go through it so I don’t have to go around,” Soine said. “It makes Damen this huge blockade. I think they should also keep the Damen entrance, the new one, following the construction’s completion.”

Soine isn’t the only fan of the new entrance. Sidney Bilger, an environmental studies and political science major, said she understands the need for occasional construction and loves the additional access to Damen.

“I feel appreciative of them accommodating us with that new entrance,” Bilger said. “That was helpful.”

Computer science major Gabriella Trujillo said she is frustrated with the obstacle the path creates.

“Because of the construction, I need a detour, and it takes longer for me to get to my classes and get to my vehicle, so I can just go home,” Trujillo said. 

Henning said final clean up work, including landscaping and permeable pavers, which collect runoff for water for use on campus, according to Loyola’s website, will be completed in July.

Henning urged students to refer to the facilities website to receive updated information about construction happening on campus.

Featured image by Hunter Minne | The Phoenix

Zoe Smith

Zoe Smith