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St. Vincent College residence hall renovations half finished

| Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
St. Vincent College seniors Mike Mackowick (left) of Monroeville and Dustin Lowman of Greenfield play a game of pool in the newly remodeled lobby of Bonaventure Hall.
Brian F. Henry | Trib Total Media
St. Vincent College seniors Mike Mackowick (left) of Monroeville and Dustin Lowman of Greenfield play a game of pool in the newly remodeled lobby of Bonaventure Hall.

The first phase of St. Vincent College's $1.8 million, two-part residence hall renovation project is complete, and students staying in Bonaventure Hall are enjoying enhancements to common areas in the dormitory.

Work on neighboring Gerard Hall will begin after spring classes end.

“The project went according to schedule and was very well done and finished on time,” St. Vincent director of public relations Don Orlando said. “It didn't disturb any of our back-to-school schedule. We were very pleased about the way it all turned out, and we look forward to doing it again next summer.”

The halls, known on campus as “Gerry” and “Bonny,” were built in 1963 and have separate floors reserved for male and female students. The halls house 472 students and resident assistants, or prefects.

Common areas such as stairwells, hallways and restrooms were the focus of the renovations, with new flooring, ceiling tile, doors, lighting and fixtures added. Individual dormitory rooms were not altered during renovations, Orlando said, and all construction work was completed over the summer in order to avoid displacing students when classes are in session.

“At first I wasn't sure what was really going on with the renovations, and I wasn't sure if it was going to make a huge difference,” said Taylor Guido, Bonaventure Hall's associate residence hall director. “I really think the colors they selected, the accents they added, the refreshed paint and carpeting really kind of helped revive the mood of the building. It's brighter when you walk in. It's warmer, I think, than it was before. Not that it wasn't warm, but the color choices and having that kind of fresh environment totally makes a difference.”

Guido, who graduated from St. Vincent in 2012 and has worked on the residence hall staff since 2010, is entering her third year of working in Bonaventure Hall. She said she's noticed more students using the computer lab off the main lobby in the dorm since the renovation, and the changes have given the building a more home-like character.

“Instead of it being your basic brown floor, white walls and kind of dim lighting, they updated it,” said Guido, who works full-time as a teacher in Norwin School District. “That's what I think really changes the mood of it, because you're walking into something that would be similar to a home in how it's painted and the colors that are there.”

The second phase of the project will include work on Gerard Hall and the courtyard area between the two dorms, including a revamped patio complete with a barbecue pit and outdoor furniture to offer another convenient common area where students can congregate comfortably.

Architects MacLachlin, Cornelius and Filoni of Pittsburgh handled design work for the residence hall renovation projects, with James Construction of Carnegie serving as the general contractor.

More than 70 percent of St. Vincent students live on campus in the college's six residence halls.

Bonaventure Hall is named in honor of the Rev. Bonaventure Aloysius Reithmeier, a Benedictine monk, priest and teacher who was dean of the college in the 1930s and served as a professor and director of dramatics.

Gerard Hall is named for the Rev. Gerard Bridge, secretary of the St. Vincent Alumni Association for more than 41 years. He was ordained in 1898 after entering St. Vincent, and served the college as an educator, administrator and monk.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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