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Published: Wednesday, 4/2/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Lourdes prepares to start first phase of mid-campus expansion

Walking/bike path, landscaping, archway planned

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A rendering of the Brint Road entrance to the Lourdes University's mid-campus expansion. The design could change, officials said.     A rendering of the Brint Road entrance to the Lourdes University's mid-campus expansion. The design could change, officials said.
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The brutal winter weather has delayed a chunk of Lourdes University’s expansion project, but officials say the first phase still has a summer completion date.

“We are still watching the snow melt,” said Mary Arquette, vice president for institutional advancement for the university in Sylvania.

Since the university broke ground on the mid-campus construction project in late October, located on a swath of land between Convent Boulevard and Brint Road, plans to clear the 11.4 acres have been slow because of persistent snowfall.

The overall expansion project, which Lourdes has said could take years and cost at least $12 million, includes in later phases a sports arena and another building. Mrs. Arquette said the university has raised about $3 million for the next phase, a recreation complex, although its cost has not yet been estimated.

Mrs. Arquette said Tuesday that crews have removed snow from the grounds that will ultimately connect students in university housing at Lourdes Commons, at Brint and McCord roads, to the main campus on Convent Boulevard.

As soon as the snow is gone, the university will start relocating or installing the utility lines on the property, she said.

The university plans to transform the site in the first phase of the expansion into a park-like atmosphere, that “reflects the beauty of our campus,” she said.

The first phase of the project will include a biking and walking path through the grounds. Mrs. Arquette said with a knock on wood, that the university hopes to have the work completed in August.

For enhanced pedestrian safety, the Brint-McCord intersection will be upgraded with a crosswalk and a traffic signal. City officials said construction will begin this week.

“It really ties our campus together. And it will be extremely helpful to our students, whether they are walking or riding their bikes. And it will be accessible to even handicap students,” she said.

The site will have benches, possibly a tree grove, and other landscaping, creating a pleasant space for students and the public, Ms. Arquette said.

A home on the property along Brint Road was sold to a private owner and is being removed, freeing up the land for a planned arched entryway. Two homes at 6725 and 6731 Convent Blvd. also were torn down to “open up” the mid-campus.

The first phase of the campus expansion includes plans to rehabilitate a home at 6737 Convent Blvd. into an admissions office. However, the condition of the house was not architecturally or structurally sound, so it was demolished, she said. For now, admissions will remain on the main campus.

The estimated cost of the project's first phase is $2 million.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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