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Lourdes University took an initial step on Tuesday in a grand plan to expand its grounds, as it said it would within a year put in a sidewalk and bike trail, sports field, and convert a home into an admissions office on its mid-campus property.
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The 11.4-acre mid-campus, which runs from the main campus on Convent Boulevard to the university housing off of Brint Road, was the site of a ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday for phase one of the campus expansion. It was attended by university and city officials, Lourdes students and faculty, and others.
Officials said the first phase, costing about $2 million, has an August completion date. Shown on the university plan is an athletic building on the mid-campus, but no longer shown on the site is a two-story academic building which was displayed on a university map in May, 2012 when Lourdes disclosed its expansion effort. The academic building is part of a long-term plan for the site, but isn't part of the current mid-campus project, Lourdes officials said.
President David Livingston, standing on the site near Brint and McCord roads, talked about the initial work on the property. It will include an Admissions House to be created from a home at 6737 Convent Blvd. which will be expanded and transformed. The house will be a welcoming center for prospective students and their families, and the work is to be completed in February.
The work on the mid-campus will provide a route for students walking to and from the main campus and the Lourdes Commons apartments off of Brint. The initial phase is part of the university’s larger plan, costing up to $12 million, to provide home facilities for its growing sports programs while bringing a campus feel to the university grounds. Lourdes still is largely a commuter college, with just 310 students in the campus housing, a small part of the university's 2,343 students.
The overall expansion project is to be funded from university and private donations.
Mr. Livingston has said he wants to increase the number of on-campus students, and university officials have said they want to enhance the existing sports programs, in part to help increase enrollment and students living in the apartments.
The university's new plan for the site shows three buildings on the northern edge of the 11.4 acres along Convent, one of which is to be the Admissions House, another which has been converted to a Campus Ministry center, and a third is not identified. Lourdes map also shows the existing house on the southern edge of the site off of Brint Road which is temporarily being used by Sylvania Township firefighters. The university did not say whether that house will remain or how it might be used.
The mid-campus grounds will be overhauled to make the property into a “park-like” setting. For now, a sports field to be used for practice by sports teams and by students will be constructed where future parking for the athletic building is planned. It will be a space for students to play and relax, officials said.
The site will be prepared for the expansion by the university relocating utility lines and electric poles, landscaping the area, and paving the pathway. That work is to be completed by August. Two homes off Convent Boulevard also will be removed to make room for the expansion.
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The City of Sylvania is to install traffic signals and a crosswalk at Brint and McCord roads, which now has stop signs. That should make it safer for students crossing the street to or from the apartments or mid-campus.
A main entrance to the mid-campus on Brint Road will have a gateway arch, bearing the university’s name.
The mid-campus is surrounded mostly by local housing and some residents objected last year to possible noise, traffic, and other disruptions from the expansion plan. Geoffrey Grubb, university provost, said officials have had meetings with people in the neighborhood about their plans.
“We want them to be informed, so we will be good neighbors to them,” he said.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.