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St. Mary's Project Underway

01/17/13
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Scaffolding appeared earlier this week on the facade of St. Mary's Hall, in preparation for the 24-month project. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Jan. 17, 2013

St. Mary’s Hall, the primary residence of the Boston College Jesuit community, will be shuttered during 24 months of interior and exterior renovations that began Monday.

The majority of St. Mary’s Jesuit residents have relocated to the BC-owned apartment complex at 2000 Commonwealth Avenue for the duration of the project.

The renovations to St. Mary’s, administrators said, are needed to restore the historically significant building, which opened in 1917 and is the second oldest on the Chestnut Hill campus. The project will entail a complete facelift of St. Mary’s, similar to that of Gasson Hall, and will enable the Jesuit residence to remain in the location where it has stood for 95 years.

In addition, the renovations will allow the majority of the south wing of the building to be converted into University academic space, which will be occupied by the Communication and Computer Science departments, as well as the Woods College of Advancing Studies, when the building reopens in January 2015.

With the popular St Mary’s Chapel unavailable, Gasson Commons — across from the Irish Room in Gasson 100 — has been converted into a chapel that will serve the University community until St. Mary’s reopens. The administrative offices of the Jesuit community have moved to 30 Old Colony Road, where they will remain for the next two years.

“Given its age, St. Mary’s Hall is in need of significant upgrades, including the building envelope and the building systems,” said Mary Nardone, associate vice president of capital projects management. “On the inside, the overall goal is to maintain the wonderful ‘feel’ of St. Mary’s on the first level, while upgrading the residential floors to improve functionality and efficiency. On the outside, there is a need to replace the roof and windows as well as the cast stone, which is approximately three times the quantity of Gasson Hall.

“Once completed, the transformation of the exterior of the building will be just as stunning as it was for Gasson.”
 “As a Jesuit community, our religious and apostolic life is what matters most to us,” said Jesuit Community Rector T. Frank Kennedy, SJ, who is Canisius Professor of Music.

“We no longer needed all of the space we had once occupied in St. Mary’s, but we realized the value of living on campus and supporting the mission of the University through our presence and service,” said Fr. Kennedy. “We said we would be happy to stay in a building that has hosted the Jesuits since 1917 — with the exception of World War II when the community left to provide housing for soldiers — if it was possible, and the University has made it possible.”

Updates on the construction project, and pedestrian and vehicular traffic restrictions along Linden Lane, will be available via BCInfo.