While Franciscan University students walk back and forth from class, they might notice some orange flags and poles that have been scattered between Egan and Starvaggi Halls and all along the hill behind Finnegan Fieldhouse.
These flags are the beginning signs of the many changes coming to the university. The flags around the academic buildings between Egan and Starvaggi Halls are plans for a new plaza. The flags along the hillside behind the Fieldhouse and by the Commuter Parking Lot are plans for the new road and the new chapel.
Joe McGurn, PE, director of Physical Plant, said that it is unclear when construction will begin.
“We don’t have all the designs yet,” said McGurn, adding, “Next week we should have a final scheme.”
McGurn said construction on the new plaza will hopefully begin in May after the students leave for summer break.
Some ideas for the construction of the plaza involve tearing down the cement wall between Egan and Starvaggi Halls, and extending the plaza all the way to Cosmas and Damian Hall, said McGurn. The new plaza will be more open, and there will be more tables and chairs for students to sit.
McGurn said there will also be a new entry into Egan Hall, and a refacing of the exterior wall.
Construction to begin the relocation of the road is still very much up in the air, said McGurn. When it is built, the road will run through the Assisi Heights and up to a larger parking lot that will be built behind the Fieldhouse.
Eventually, the plan is that there will be a new academic building in the first corner of the Assisi Heights, across from Starvaggi Hall, and the road will run behind it, said McGurn.
McGurn said once the road is built, they will not longer have the commuter lot next to Starvaggi Hall. That will be all grass in front of the new chapel.
The orange flags on the hill beside the Fieldhouse are actually for the chapel, said McGurn. Utility companies have placed the flags so the surveyors know where the chapel will be and they can then test the soil to know what they are working with.
“In order to build, you got to know your existing condition,” said McGurn.
With these changes coming, the view when coming up the west entrance of campus will very much differ from the view now, with a new road, a new academic building, and a new chapel.
“It will totally change the look of campus,” said McGurn.
McGurn said his hope is to have the road construction begin about a year before construction on the chapel begins, probably in 2018.