St. Mary's Hall Renovation Project
In 2012, the Boston College Board of Trustees gave approval for the renovation of St. Mary’s Hall, the primary residence of the University's Jesuit community.
The renovations, administrators said, are needed to restore the historically significant building, 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.
St. Mary’s is an exterior and interior renovation. The work started on site January 14, 2013 and will continue to November 2014. All work will occur within the project site fencing.
Autumn site activities:
• Exterior Building: All the existing cast stone must be removed, measured, photographed, shipped to the fabricator, molded, and poured, before the new cast stone is shipped back to Boston College, a process that ensures each piece is replicated. There are approximately 18,000 cast stone elements being removed, and with some stone combinations there are currently 14,000 new cast stone elements in the restoration. Very little of the Roxbury Puddingstone (the predominant stone) is being replaced in this project.
• Façade Restoration / Site Work: The existing cast stone removal on the first and ground floors will continue through the winter. The new cast stone installation will continue on the east, south and west sides of the building. The new roof tile installation will continue on all sides. The new roof should be completed by mid-November 2013. The new garage foundation on the east side will begin in late December 2013.
• Interior Renovation: Inside the building the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems have been completed on the third and second floors and will continue on the fourth, first and ground floors. The shaft construction for the two new elevators will be completed. New floor and wall framing has been completed on the third and second floors and will continue on the fourth, first and ground floors. Installation of new windows will begin on the east and south sides of the building.
Impetus for the Project
“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 T. Frank Kennedy, S.J., Canisius Professor of Music and rector of the Jesuit community.
“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.”
Jesuit Community, Chapel Relocation
St. Mary's was closed on January 14, 2013, and the entire building and surrounding area was fenced in for the duration of the project.
The majority of its Jesuit residents relocated to the BC-owned apartment complex at 2000 Commonwealth Avenue. The administrative offices of the Jesuit community have moved to 30 Old Colony Road.
The popular chapel at St Mary’s Hall also is closed during the renovations. Gasson Commons, across the rotunda from the Irish Room (Gasson 100) in Gasson Hall, will serve as a chapel for the University community until St. Mary’s reopens.
--Office of News & Public Affairs