By: Tatum Hunter ~Editor-in-Chief~
Students can expect a new look for the Xavier Yard when they return for the fall 2015 semester. Physical Plant will be remodeling the open space surrounding Fenwick Place, Husman stage, Bellarmine Chapel and Alter Hall over the summer.
Plans for the renovations have been in place since the creation of the 2005 Campus Master Plan. However, the impending reconstruction of Alter Hall made it necessary to leave the street connecting Cleneay Avenue and St. Francis Xavier Way open for construction traffic. Upon the completion of Alter Hall, the street will be removed and replaced with greenspace and walkways. What is currently Bellarmine Circle will be replaced by Bellarmine Mall, which features a circular raised planter surrounded by steps and seating.
The planter will be in the center of a cobblestone roundabout for vehicular traffic, with walking paths encircling the roundabout. Bob Sheeran, vice president for facilities at Physical Plant, will oversee the project. “My impressions are very good,” Sheeran said in an email. “Vehicular access will remain to Bellarmine for Mass, weddings, funerals, etc., but the completed Xavier Yard will create a pedestrian-friendly space in the core of the campus.”
The St. Ignatius Steps will run between McDonald Library and Alter Hall, connecting the academic mall with Hoff Academic Quad. Previously, students had to walk back to Bellarmine Chapel or cut through McDonald Library to the Conaton Learning Connection Center (CLC) to get to the Quad from the academic mall. The design for the new steps includes tiered landscaping and irrigation channels. Various crisscrossing walking paths will be added throughout the Yard, including two that intersect Cleneay Avenue next to Fenwick Place.
The pavement between Fenwick Place and Hailstones Hall will be replaced with greenspace. “The new Yard will make (Xavier) look more beautiful,” Student Body President Andrew Redd said. “It will open up more space for students to utilize the Yard. Also, it will increase accessibility with the new stairs being placed by the CLC.”
Physical Plant plans to have the renovations completed by August. The total cost of Alter Hall renovations, including the completion of the Xavier Yard, is projected to be $18 million. For more information and digital renderings of the new Xavier Yard, visit http://www.xavier. edu/plant.