By Elizabeth Van Pilsum, Staff Writer
Saint Vincent College has been working to strike the perfect balance between preserving the distinction of the campus and adapting to all the needs the modern world presents. To best ensure the benefit of the community while incorporating these changes, a committee of representatives from all entities on campus, including the monastery, has been formed. It is spearheaded by Dr. Jeff Mallory, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Together, the committee has created the Master Plan.
“A master plan provides an opportunity to fulfill a periodic assessment of the campus and its potential needs,” said Dr. Mallory. “It looks at multiple areas of the college community. It's commonplace in higher education when you think of the needs that surround a college community, including facilities, the needs of the current students, and making sure we’re providing the best to those in the community.”
The aim of the Master Plan is to improve the physical layout here at Saint Vincent through landscaping and renovations, as well to increase environmental sustainability. The last time Saint Vincent implemented a master plan, it was concluded in 2012. Much has changed since then, and the college felt that now is the right time to create and enact another master plan.
“We've had between fifteen and twenty small group conversations here on this campus community,” Dr. Mallory said. “We’ve talked with everybody from students, to faculty, to administration. They all give input into what we should consider for the Master Plan. We look at everything that’s been considered and we start to narrow it down.”
Some elements of the Master Plan have already been put into effect: the Carey Fitness Center was renovated over the summer and the gymnasium has been freshly painted, with a plan to add more graphics soon. One of the most exciting changes ahead is the construction of the Dunlap Family Athletic and Recreation Center, which is expected to begin construction in the Spring 2023 semester.
Another potential outcome of the Master Plan is the demolition and replacement of certain older residential halls. “They’re very much dated,” Dr. Mallory said. “The architectural design is not what you’re used to seeing today. We also look at studies and patterns of residential use. We look at the usage percentage of those residential halls, so it’s very much a data-driven decision.”
The time and attention that is required for upkeep of residential halls are also taken into account. As the buildings become older, it becomes less practical to continue putting in resources to maintain them, which is the case for Saint Scholastica Hall.
“Saint Scholastica, in our eyes, is a building that is close to the end of its life cycle,” said Dr. Mallory. “The college has put a lot of resources into that building, but quite frankly it’s expensive to upkeep, so that’s a building we’d consider potentially demolishing.”
The major findings of the master plan will be presented to the Saint Vincent community in November of this year, and the plan will be finalized at some point in the Spring 2023 semester. The plan does not have a specific end date in sight but will be a continuous implementation of what the college deems necessary for the next eight to ten years. While not everything in the master plan will come to fruition, many changes will occur.
Dr. Mallory is excited to see the community grow through the Master Plan. He said, “It’s refreshing to see all constituencies including our monastic community and seminary come together and not only identify things to focus on but to come to an agreement of how to move forward […] It showcases Saint Vincent in a good way and highlights the strength of our community when you have people that want to work together and that always strive to put their best effort forward.”