Completion of a 48-bed expansion of the Saint Elizabeth Seton Village residence complex and new headquarters for the admission department will greet students, staff and visitors when they return to Saint John’s University this fall, and nearly $3 million in building and grounds improvements will be evident at the College of Saint Benedict as classes resume.
The new portion of Seton Hall caps a two-year project that totaled almost $20 million and added new quarters for up to 144 students. Improvements also are under way at the Vincent Court residence buildings, a three-year process that will update the nine buildings on the north edge of Collegeville.
At Saint Ben’s, upgrades have targeted residence buildings, too. There will be new laundry facilities for students later this fall in Lottie Hall and the West Apartments, Margretta Hall will feature new roofing and tuckpointing to its exterior brick, and residents at Luetmer Hall will notice new LED lighting throughout.
The LED upgrade, which provides a better light and a reduction in electricity use, extends to the Gorecki Conference and Dining Center and outdoor lighting on the CSB campus.
“We added lighting along the mall walkways,” said Briana Wentland, director of facilities at Saint Ben’s. “We had feedback that there were areas that needed to be more well-lit at night near the Haehn Campus Center and for students coming and going from the Benedicta Arts Center. And people will notice new LED lighting in the BAC courtyard, too.”
Wentland said the courtyard, which is an open-air space surrounded by wings of the BAC, has been revitalized and provides a quiet and calm space to study or relax. It is available whenever the building is open.
Other headline improvements at Saint John’s includes a new location for admission. Both schools will be served with a $2.7-million space created below the Great Hall at SJU. And another $1.1 million went into upgrades to the concessions facilities at Clemens Stadium and Warner Palaestra.
“It’s been years since we spent this much on our facilities,” said Russ Klein, physical plant director at Saint John’s. “Having healthy reserves and leadership that prioritizes the student and visitor experience has been instrumental.”
Here is a look at other facilities improvements for the 2023-24 academic year:
At Saint Ben’s:
- A new shelter and security cameras are being installed at the north entrance.
- More than a dozen automated external defibrillators are being updated across campus.
- HVAC improvements have been completed for chemical storage at the Ardolf Science Center.
- Windows have been replaced in the Henrita Academic Building.
- And the CSB greenhouse soon will be relocated and will provide dedicated parking and space for outdoor programming.
At Saint John’s:
- Saint Patrick Hall features new flooring and interior paint.
- The school has partnered with Bernick’s to renovate an automated Sexton Micro-Market, which will make snacks and other convenience items available 24 hours a day.
- Mary Hall has been reconfigured for a joint CSB and SJU student activities space.
- NovaCare Rehabilitation Physical Therapy has been relocated to Warner Palaestra to be more adjacent to SJU athletics as well as near workout spaces for the general student body.
- Grounds improvements include asphalt resurfacing in the Abbey Church, Flagpole, Mary and Sexton parking lots, new pavers in front of the Great Hall, and installation of a pollinator garden in Flynntown.
- The Jon Hassler Sculpture Garden, a joint venture with the Walker Art Center, has been completed. The first work, “Kura: Prophetic Messenger,” was dedicated in 2021 and has been joined by “Grass” and “Goddess” on a five-year lease.
- Windows have been replaced in Saint Gregory House.
- LED lighting has been installed in Sexton Arena.
- Collegeville Institute has been renovated to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- And elevators have been replaced with more modern versions in Sexton Commons and Benet Hall.