Alumni returning today after a 10- or 20-year hiatus from Xavier’s campus are awed by the radically altered landscape created by the construction of recent years —the Gallagher Student Center, the Cintas Center, the Commons apartment building, the eye-pleasing green spaces. Gone are the houses that once dotted campus and served as University offices. Gone is the old University Center. Gone are the streets that cut through campus.
Well, get ready. In 10 years, another round of physical changes will once again significantly change the face of Xavier. Not unlike the 1920s (see related story), new buildings during the early 2000s will dramatically change the look of campus. The campus of 2015 will have more student housing, more open walking space, more topnotch buildings and an architecturally significant entryway where Ledgewood Drive and Dana Avenue now meet.
The developments are part of the new long-term strategic plan that was unveiled in October and will guide the University for the next decade. Most of the plan focuses on enhancing the academic learning environment, which remains the core of the vision University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., has for the University. His goal is to better prepare Xavier students for the world beyond campus and life after graduation.
Part of building the University academically, though, includes constructing new facilities where the growth can take place. At the center of the new facilities is an area known as the Academic Quadrangle. This series of state-of-the-art buildings features the latest technological and educational tools needed for learning. It will draw students and visitors together in a central area and be a starting point from which the rest of campus radiates.
The developments won’t take place overnight, but will span the next decade and continue the steady growth that is still taking place today. For example, Bellarmine Chapel, which will fittingly become the center of campus under the new plan, is now being expanded to meet the needs of its congregation.
In 10 years student tour guides will take prospective students out Schott Hall—which was updated in 2003 into a new admission office and gathering area for prospective students and their families—and left up Dana Avenue to the top of the hill where they will point out the newer developments, including:
• The Learning Commons. The heart of the Academic Quad, the Learning Commons will be an extension of, and integrated with, the McDonald Library. It will be filled with the latest learning technology and information systems that students and professors can use in their research. The building will be wired for students’ laptop computers, and it’s expected students will be able to download textbooks or hook up to a satellite and take classes at other Jesuit schools like Boston College or Georgetown University.
• The new Williams College of Business building and new academic center, both of which will be part of the Quad.
• A renovated Alter Hall, the University’s 45-year-old main classroom building.
• The wireless environment, which will allow students to be online anywhere at all times.
• The new green space and dorms. Visitors leaving the Quad will walk down a new campus green space that replaces Ledgewood Drive and past a new residence hall built to accommodate the expected increase in enrollment that will put about 850 new students on campus each year, up from approximately 800 today.
“It’s about our finding new ways to embody better the ideals we hold close to our hearts,” says Graham, “and it certainly has an impact on our students.”