VOL. 9 | NO. 46 | Saturday, November 12, 2016
Christian Brothers University Rolls Out Second Phase of $70 Million Master Plan
By Bill Dries
After raising $42 million of a $70 million capital campaign goal sooner than expected, leaders of Christian Brothers University are embarking on a more aggressive, $28 million second phase that will change the geography of the Fairgrounds-area campus.
The campaign was unveiled Saturday, Nov. 12, at the CBU annual Bell Tower Gala, with renderings from archimania of an expanded, state-of-the-art library and Thomas Student Center. The plan also makes the school’s quad more of a student gathering spot.
“We need a center on campus,” Christian Brothers president John Smarrelli told The Daily News editorial board earlier this month. “Students these days like to work in groups. We need to find ways to do that – a library open 24 hours a day. We need to give them opportunities to interact – interact with our faculty in other ways. That is a crucial piece of phase two going forward.”
The new $14 million student center would replace the existing 1970s-era Thomas Center, and the renovation of Plough Library is put at $5 million, with another $4 million upgrade of athletic facilities.
The new buildings include a career center focused on offering all students internships as part of their college experience.
And CBU’s new education building would expand its link to the Middle College High School located across Central Avenue from the CBU campus. Students at the high school take advanced placement course for college credit from faculty on the CBU campus.
The university is also a key partner in Crosstown High School, a 500-student high school in the Crosstown Concourse development scheduled to open in the 2018-2019 school year.
The high school would be a laboratory for teaching reforms at CBU’s enhanced school of education.
“At the end of the day, what we are going to do to our education program is we are going to blow it up,” Smarrelli said. “We will create a project-based learning, teacher-training program here on the CBU campus with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).”
The parts – brick-and-mortar construction and programming – have been coordinated into a master plan Smarrelli said dictates that somewhere on campus “on a very regular basis – a spirit that says we should be building as we are reaching out to the community.”
“We needed a master plan with some pop to it,” he added. “Basically we were putting buildings in this spot and put a building here. What we’ve done is created a dynamic canvas.”
Last year, CBU completed the $8 million Rosa G. Deal School of the Arts, the most visible structure associated with the first phase of the capital campaign. It opens for classes in 2017.
The school, named for the university’s first female teacher, was built on the site of Kenrick Hall, a circa-1939 building that was demolished.
At Saturday’s Bell Tower Gala, the school also announced its engineering school is being renamed in honor of Richard Gadomski, the co-chairman of the capital campaign and a former head of the CBU board of trustees.
A CBU alumni who came to the school from Chicago in 1958, Gadomski earned a degree in engineering that he credits with his success in business. The engineering program was 4 years old when Gadomski started.
“I was a blue-collar kid with no educational background … when I came down here,” he said. “I found out that I could compete with anybody in the world with the education I had here.”
Gadomski has also been a major force in the capital campaign and the plans that the campaign is funding. Smarrelli describes him as “our most amazing benefactor.”
Like the first phase, the money raised in the second phase from donors and foundations is also for programming and scholarships. And the specific timeline for each of the parts depends on what those donors give their money for specifically.