'Campus Gothic' Dorm Set for Spot Near Flather

February 9, 2007 by Frankie Bustamante 

The University unveiled the first of three building projects that will expand the North Campus by the end of the decade and eliminate Spellman, Conaty and Spalding halls. The first phase of construction will be the building of Opus Hall, which is set to begin within three months.

According to University officials, Opus Hall will house approximately 420 students, be 335 feet long and seven stories tall with three elevators. Carl Petchik, executive director of facilities operations stated that the hall will comprise 12 five-person suites and one suite for each the residential advisor. It will be adjacent to Flather Hall and Millennium North, facing John McCormack Road. The hall will be available to juniors and seniors and is projected to be completed no later than the spring of 2009.

Jonathan Sawyer, associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, stressed the communal aspect as a major goal for Opus Hall. "Our goal is really threefold.to create a better sense of place on this campus.to help build stronger CUA community, especially amongst students.and really to support the spiritual growth of our students," said Sawyer. Community kitchens will be located on every floor, equipped with two of most appliances, as well as a small dining area, to better promote community within every floor. "We hope that the students will come together there and in fact enjoy the space," said Petchik of the kitchen. Opus will have several contemplative and community rooms, as well as and wide set stairs for students to congregate in. In addition, the hall will have study rooms, vending facilities, and a fireplace.

Opus Hall will be the first building on campus to be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, (LEED), for its environmental practices, such as the use of local resources, water restrictions on showers and toilets and a cut down of waste from the building, according to Petchik.

Architecturally, Opus will stand out, with an exterior that consists of pre-cast concrete, red brick and buff color brick, to better accentuate the elevation. Additionally, the hall will be modeled in the collegiate gothic style, in theme with the overall campus architecture.

Safety issues have already been addressed and actively implemented, such as the involvement of the Department of Public Safety. Entry to the building, stairway, elevators and living spaces will require cardinal card access, and the surrounding area outside the hall will be heavily lit in the evenings, to increase visibility.

Costs of living in Opus will be adjusted and disclosed upon completion, but Sawyer stated that the Millennium Halls will remain the costliest, with Opus Hall following behind. However, the Opus Hall rooms will have a larger square footage than the Millennium Halls.

The University is planning a ceremony to honor an alumnus who has made a significant contribution to the building project, said Victor Nakas, associate Vice President for Public Affairs. Nakas declined to name the alumnus or elaborate on the decision and reasons behind the name of Opus Hall. However, the name of the company the University contracted for the construction is the OPUS East Construction Group.

Curley Court will continue to be a residential option for students through 2012, and will undergo extensive refurbishment during the summer in order to maintain living standards.

The University is planning a ceremonial ground-breaking event after Easter.

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