By: Cynthia Medlin
In anticipation of future growth in the student population and the expansion needs of the St. Edward’s University a community meeting was held on campus February 18, 2017 to get community feedback on proposed changes. Architectural renderings were displayed and public comment was solicited. A follow-up meeting with architects and university representatives was held on March 23, 2017 to show revisioned plans.
Currently underway are total restoration and updates of the old Main Bldg. and Holy Cross Hall. These are expected to be completed in the fall of 2017 as is the new student housing complex along Woodward. A new Operations bldg. near St. Edwards St. at the north edge of campus will begin shipping and receiving functions this month.
The St. Edward’s Master Plan will be published some time this summer. At the March 23rd meeting some of the highlights noted on the preliminary plan include the following changes. The unlighted atheletic fields along St. Edward’s St. will remain for public use. New larger lighted fields for major events will eventually be located along the IH 35 Frontage Rd. on the far east side of campus separated by a Blunn Creek greenbelt area with limited vehicle access.
New buildings on campus will be taller and more urban in design in order to increase green space and density. Walkways will be shaded and pedestrian friendly. Old student housing on the north side of campus downhill from the Mary Moody Northern Theatre will be demolished and replaced. The Theatre will move to what is now a parking lot near the Congress St. entrance. A parking garage is anticipated to be built near Congress on the northwest end of campus but on the downslop of a hill and partially underground to keep the profile low. Part of Moody Hall will be demolished and functions moved to a new building. Over time additional housing and academic buildings will be built throughout the area. However, the university at this time plans to keep development minimal along St. Edward’s drive in order to reduce impact on the residential area adjacent to campus. Those neighbors seemed pleased with the proposals if they do not change significantly.
Also heard at the meeting was that the Travis Heights Apartments due north of campus along Congress Ave. have been bought and will be redeveloped. However, no one at the meeting seemed to know what type of development will be going there but it is likely mixed use.