SLU Community Gathers to Open Grand Hall
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.
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.
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