Old library demolition to begin in the wake of Monroe completion

Sarah-Anne Smurlick

Despite the wrap-up of Monroe Hall’s construction, students won’t be saying goodbye to the construction equipment just yet.

Thomas Raymond, director of construction and safety, said that although the construction yard outside Monroe Hall is being decommissioned on a daily basis, some of the construction equipment will remain until after the old library in front of Monroe Hall has been demolished to make room for the proposed Tom Benson Jesuit Center, which is next in line for construction.

Raymond said that the construction of the Jesuit Center will start as soon as the funds become available. However, the demolition of the old library is scheduled to begin after the President’s Open House on March 14.

Raymond said this demolition will be complete by the summer, around the same time the construction team will finish putting the final touches on Monroe Hall.

Over Mardi Gras break, Loyola students and faculty experienced some of these final touches firsthand as construction workers removed the portable office building in Mercy Hall’s parking lot, reinstating 26 parking spaces available to anyone with a Loyola parking permit.

Francesca Vaccaro, biochemistry junior, said that all of her classes are in the new Monroe Hall building this semester. She said she enjoys the building’s new design.

“The new Monroe Hall is remarkably different than when I was first touring Loyola three years ago.  I love the large windows, which bring in so much light.  Also, the views from the sixth floor are quite spectacular because of how flat New Orleans is,” Vaccaro said.

Even though she will have graduated before it’s completion, Vaccaro said she is also looking forward to the new Jesuit Center.

Raymond said that during the demolition process of the former library in upcoming weeks, an effort will be made to reclaim some of the decorative stone components on the outside of the building to incorporate into the center.

Ken Weber, associate chaplain for liturgy and music, said he is looking forward to several aspects of the future center, including the chapel and a new location for the office of mission and ministry.

Weber said that the office of mission and ministry’s future location at the heart of campus will help express Loyola’s commitment to its Jesuit, Catholic identity and mission.

Vacarro said that she sees many benefits to having the mission and ministry offices grouped together, rather than scattered throughout campus.

“As an active member of university ministry, I believe that having a central location on campus where all of the different areas of university ministry are located will allow for the greater exposure to the resources that are offered for all students,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro said she would be looking forward to the Magis Lounge’s new location were she not graduating in spring 2016.

“During my time at Loyola, the Magis Lounge has provided me with a lot of support and resources that are often overlooked because of its location in the basement of the Danna Center.  Moving the Magis lounge into a central location will increase its access to the student community and create a more connected campus overall,” Vaccaro said.