SLU Community Gathers to Open Grand Hall

08/08/2017

For those gathered at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Laclede Avenue, Aug. 8 marked the creation of a new home for innovation and Ignatian community as Saint Louis University's newest residence hall, Grand Hall, opened its doors.

Together with members of the board of trustees, student government and outside partners, SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., cut the ribbon on the new Bicentennial Plaza to officially open the hall on Aug. 8. The new dorm will welcome its first residents on Aug. 23 during Fall Move In days.

SLU President Fred P. Pestello and other dignitaries cut the ribbon. Photo by Steve DolanSLU President Fred P. Pestello and other dignitaries cut the ribbon. Photo by Steve Dolan

Grand Hall will be home to 528 first- and second-year SLU students and three University Learning Communities - Diversity and Global Citizenship, Engineering and Innovation and Ethical Leaders in Business. Located at 3605 Laclede Ave., it joins Spring Hall as SLU's second new student living space in two years.

"We're celebrating another step forward," Pestello said. "Another step forward toward our 200-year anniversary. I'm proud today. I'm inspired today. I'm grateful today."

Senior Daniel Carter, the president of the Student Government Association, said that Grand Hall symbolized SLU's commitment to providing its students with cura personalis  – care of the whole person.

"I have never seen a building that allows for the care of the whole student, mind, body and spirit," Carter told the crowd. "While SLU has always provided these things, Grand Hall provides them in a spectacular way."

The $71 million hall will house its more than 500 residents on six floors in single and double suite-style rooms. The hall also includes classrooms, study lounges and an outdoor plaza. Kitchen and laundry facilities are available on alternating floors for student use.

"SLU's continued commitment to the student experience is evident on every floor, in every detail," Melinda Carlson, director of SLU's Department of Housing, Residence Life and Student Involvement, said. 

The project, according to University trustee Martha Uhlhorn, is an "emphatic statement" about the University's responsiveness to changing student demographics and needs.

Grand Hall also includes a new 740-seat dining hall that includes restaurant-style seating, a fireplace and seating in an outdoor courtyard. Special highlights of the new dining space include vegan and Mongolian food stations. The Grand Hall dining space will have extended hours and amenities like a nutritionist available to answer students' dining questions. Faculty and staff can also dine in the hall.

Alberici served as general contractor on the hall, which was designed by Hastings+Chivetta. The seven-story, 237,000 sq. ft. residence hall was built to meet LEED Silver standards as part of the University's commitment to sustainability. Located on the northwest corner of Grand Boulevard, Grand Hall was built specifically to take maximum advantage of sun exposure for daylight harvesting. The building uses reflective materials and abundant vegetation in its landscaping to reduce its urban heat island impact.

Floor plans for the hall are available through SLU's Department of Housing, Residence Life and Student Involvement. A video showcasing the new building is also available.

Robert Murphy, S.J., blesses Grand Hall

Robert Murphy, S.J., blesses the exterior of Grand Hall on Aug. 8. Photo by Amelia Flood

Tuesday's ceremony marked the end of a two-year planning, preparation and construction period. Following remarks from Uhlhorn, Carter, Pestello, Carlson and Joseph Conran ('67, '70), chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, Robert Murphy, S.J. led the crowd in prayer before blessing the building's exterior. Blessings for individual  student rooms were also offered after the ribbon cutting.

Following the ribbon cutting, those who turned out for the ceremony gathered for refreshments in the hall's dining space before embarking on tours.

"'Grand Hall' is a fitting name for this hall," Uhlhorn said.


Saint Louis University is a world-class Catholic, Jesuit institution educating nearly 13,000 students on two dynamic, urban campuses - in St. Louis, Missouri, and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818, the University will soon celebrate its bicentennial.
 
With a legacy of innovative academics and research, compassionate health care and faithful service, Saint Louis University attracts a diverse community of scholars who push intellectual boundaries in pursuit of creative, meaningful ways to impact the world, striving to serve a higher purpose and seek a greater good.

Additional photos by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications