New Lourdes walkway connects dorms to campusWritten by Tom Konecny | | email@example.com
A $1.5 million expansion at Lourdes University focused on providing a safe pedestrian passage from the residence halls to the main campus has opened after a summer of construction.
The new paved and lighted walkway spans across 10 acres which Lourdes has acquired over the past six years. The property offers WiFi throughout, as well as plug-in stations next to benches along some of the light posts. By spring 2015, Lourdes intends to have the entire project complete with brick entry arches, a disc golf course, spirit rock, athletic fields and fire pit. The land is part of Lourdes’ master plan, which will eventually also be home to several athletic and recreation opportunities.
“It’s the fulfilling of the movement from purely a commuter school to a residential school, and this is really the first step in terms of making that connection,” said president David Livingston.
The acreage is located at the intersection of Brint and McCord roads, which included a former bus garage, and the university expects it to create a safer commute for the 350 students who live in dorms south of the main campus. Lourdes also hopes to make for a more complete, truly residential campus experience by offering amenities most students expect.
“I think students were asking for things that are fully residential, so each year we’ve tried to add something,” Livingston said. “So it really is enhancing the sense of one whole residential experience.”
Lourdes broke ground just after graduation in May and opened the addition this month. The school worked closely with Sylvania city leaders to make it a reality, with Livingston praising city administration for being “incredibly supportive” in its development.
“I think the new mid-campus walkway is a terrific improvement over the old Sylvania bus garage that we used to have at the site,” said Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough. “We’re really pleased with the continuing improvements that Lourdes University is making in our city.”
The expansion also paves the way for an already-approved athletic complex on its northwest section, of which $3 million has already been raised. Lourdes expects the final price tag to total anywhere from $8 million to $15 million, and is a project the university community has been dreaming about for a long time. Livingston realizes the complex will serve the university well, but like most universities figures it to be a key recruiting tool.
“Each of these steps we’ve made each year piece by piece,” Livingston said. “It really does recruit more students. It’s a draw.”
Though Livingston has only served as president for one year, making the entire campus more pedestrian-friendly has been a focus of Lourdes’ for much longer.
“We’ve been at this in terms of trying to be a residential campus for our fifth year,” Livingston said. “We have been doing it for pieces. It wasn’t a pedestrian-friendly campus. It was never designed for pedestrians. It was designed for cars. You couldn’t actually get onto the campus as a pedestrian. That was something that I would say we’ve really been looking at.”
Some of the neighbors surrounding the mid-campus expansion weren’t happy with the change, but Livingston is hopeful that the park-like addition will serve the community well.
“There was a lot of opposition of those living next to it,” hesaid. “I am hopeful that those who see it, that they will be very happy that it’s there.”