St. Bonaventure students have gotten used to sharing their campus with construction workers. First, they built us the Richter Center, finished in the fall of 2004. Then, they remodeled the Hickey Dining Hall and Shay-Loughlen residence halls, finished in 2006.
Currently, they are continuing work on the De La Roche Hall addition and Café La Verna construction. Work began on the Friedsam Library addition on April 1.
Philip Winger, the director of maintenance, said work on De La Roche Hall has continued on schedule, despite the rough winter. Winger said he has received no complaints from students and parents about the construction on campus. What he has received, he added, is positive feedback from the community and prospective students.
Work on De La Roche Hall began in June of 2006. The 46,000-square-foot addition, named the William F. Walsh Science Center, includes modern classrooms and laboratories for biology, chemistry, math, computer science and physics.
The addition, standing three stories high, will also house faculty offices incorporated with lab space for improved student-teacher accessibility, research spaces and a 150-seat indoor amphitheatre. Funding for the addition came in part from the federal government through the efforts of U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh, a Republican from Onondaga and a Bonaventure alumnus, and former U.S. Rep. Amory Houghton, who represented the district including Bonaventure until his retirement in 2005. Additional funding for the facility, as well as for the renovation of De La Roche, has been raised from trustees, alumni and foundations and includes a leadership gift from Leslie C. Quick III.
The construction is on schedule for completion in 2008. Freshman biology major Mike Ghassibi, who uses De La Roche Hall daily, looks forward to seeing the finished product.
“This addition is a great idea, plus they are hiring an additional (faculty) member because the new science center will bring an influx of science-focused students, like me," Ghassibi said.
On April 1, the construction began on the library addition. The Paul and Irene Bogoni Foundation awarded St. Bonaventure $2 million to construct an addition to house the library’s rare books collection. The collection includes the most important collection of Franciscana in North America with more than 9,000 rare books and manuscripts tracked down from as early as the 12th century.
The 4,600-square-foot, glass and brick addition will be near the north entrance and will extend to the sidewalk between the library and Murphy Hall. Additional gifts for construction of the Bogoni Rare Books addition came from Leslie C. Quick III and the estate of John R. McGinley Sr.
“The library is already nice, and this will only make it nicer,” said freshman Josh Thomas, an undecided business major.
The construction team has planned a hiatus during finals week to minimize distractions for the students.
Class of '08
Check out the construction of the William F. Walsh Science Center - live!
The social side
Construction has been a pretty common sight on the St. Bonaventure campus over the last year. The work started last summer, when the university began the first of seven major renovation projects. Total value of the projects is set at approximately $25 million.
This year's freshmen benefited immediately from two of the first projects – the renovations to the Shay-Loughlen Residence Halls and the Hickey Dining Hall.
They will also be among those enjoying one of the most eagerly awaited projects, the new café connected to the Hickey Dining Hall. Café La Verna will be a 5,500-square-foot addition. The centerpiece of the café will be a double-sided fireplace.
To make it appealing to the eye, the café will include wood beams and floor-to-ceiling windows. To accommodate both individuals and groups, the café will offer a variety of seating arrangements, including different sized tables, seating “nooks” with brick wall separation and comfortable group sittings. The café will have a wireless Internet connection and is expected to be open longer hours than those of the Hickey Dining Hall.
In addition to a variety of espresso and other coffee drinks, a lunch offering of soup, salad and sandwiches will be available. Announcements of the menu and coffee brand are planned in the near future.
“I am really excited for the new café to be finished because it will be a new spot for students to relax and just hang out,” said freshman Bobby Gohn.
University officials are planning renovations to the residence areas of Francis Hall similar to the renovations done in Loughlen last summer – namely, finishes like paint, flooring and ceilings, as well as lighting, bathroom renovations and new and improved furnishings.
Starting right after graduation will be work on a new floor in the Reilly Center gymnasium, as requested by the Athletic Department. The floor will begin with wood, and then be covered with a more modern foam top. Completion is expected before the new semester begins in the fall.
Winger said this is the “most continuous construction we have seen – one project right after another.”
He said he is excited about all the projects and that, “it is better to be too busy, than bored."
Class of '09
Watch Café La Verna being built!