Campus Construction will Help Lake Shore Campus Resist Flooding

Construction is projected to finish by the end of October.

More than $20 million worth of construction took over Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus during the summer, performing upgrades and maintenance to prepare for the new academic year.

Out of the several construction projects, $10 million was spent to improve the stormwater drainage system throughout campus, according to a press release. Kana Henning, senior associate vice president for Facilities at Loyola, said this system will limit Loyola’s use of city drainage pipes, preventing backups during heavy rain conditions.

Lake Shore Campus experienced flooding in 34 buildings after a flash flood alert last fall, including the Information Commons, Mundelein Center, Cudahy Science Hall and Cudahy Library, The Phoenix previously reported. Chicago was also subject to flash flooding in early July, receiving between 3 and 7 inches of rain and damage to numerous roads and homes, according to the National Weather Service.

Stormwater detention vaults were installed under the lawn east of Dumbach Hall and the plaza between Piper Hall and Mundelein Center beginning in May, according to Henning. Sanitary and stormwater systems were separated so stormwater could be diverted to the vaults. Henning also said pipes and pumps were upgraded to handle more water.

With stormwater vaults, water can be held until city lines are no longer at maximum capacity. Other parts of campus, like Cudahy Library, will send stormwater directly to Lake Michigan and bypass city lines, according to Henning. 

“Our stormwater projects are going to improve the experience by limiting the number of disruptions that we have to campus operations whenever we have significant storms,” Henning said. “This was a worthwhile investment for us to be able to make sure that we’re not continuing to throw good money after bad.”

Since 2005, when more than 95% of Loyola’s property drained to city sewers, the university has invested in a variety of stormwater management techniques. These include landscape projects, green roofs and permeable pavers. Today, only 38.4% of Loyola’s property drains to city lines, a reduction of nearly 11 million gallons, according to a press release.

Henning said the stormwater management upgrades will also benefit the surrounding community by reducing Loyola’s burden on local infrastructure.

Construction of the Dumbach vault is complete, but lawns are currently roped off to allow grass to regrow.

Third-year Anthony Azar took summer classes and watched the construction as it began in May. He said more effort should’ve been put into getting projects done earlier.

“They didn’t really start ramping up until August,” Azar said. “I think they should’ve done more in June and July.”

Henning said Cudahy Library, Coffey Hall and Piper Hall received flood resistance work along their foundations, as they have been prone to flooding in heavy rain, The Phoenix previously reported.

Though the fountain between Mundelein and Piper Hall was removed, a new plaza with landscaping is being constructed to replace it. Henning said the hardscape, or concrete part of the plaza, is expected to be completed by the end of winter, with landscaping and planting beginning in the spring. Different parts of the plaza will open up as construction continues, according to Henning.

Yianna Schneckloth, a fourth-year student and campus tour guide, said construction on campus was inconvenient while trying to do her job. Schneckloth also said she wasn’t a huge fan of the changes made to the plaza next to Mundelein.

“I just don’t think it’ll be used properly, what they think people will use it for,” Schneckloth said. “They removed some of the beauty of the area.”

Megan McCarron, a third-year, said construction on the plaza is inconvenient.

“It makes me sad,” McCarron said. “I know a lot of people came in here to study. I liked to walk through here when it rained for the ambiance, but now it’s all construction sounds.”

In addition to stormwater management work, other parts of campus were updated. Henning said Dumbach Hall and Mundelein Center, two of campus’ oldest buildings, received façade work for durability and energy efficiency, The Phoenix previously reported.

Crown Center received a refresh to its HVAC system to improve air quality and ventilation. Fire alarms were upgraded and fire sprinklers were added. The elevators were completely replaced, bathrooms were upgraded and gender neutral bathrooms and personal wellness rooms were added, The Phoenix previously reported.

Between Cudahy Science Hall and Cuneo Hall, sidewalks are being rerouted around a new plaza which will hold the bronze St. Ignatius statue, according to Henning. This project is expected to finish by the end of October.

Featured image by Daphne Kraushaar / The Phoenix

Maddie Franz

Maddie Franz