JFRC Inaugurates New Residence Hall and Chapel
Dr. Michael Andrews, JFRC Director, signed the formal papers handing over legal possession of Loyola Rome Center’s new residence hall and chapel from Sharon Miura, the construction project manager. Preparation for the worksite began in November 2018, with the temporary removal of about two dozen olive trees to a safe location. Construction for the new residence hall and chapel at the Loyola Rome Center is now mostly complete, though we are still waiting for “permission of occupancy” for the new chapel due to safety and security requirements, as well as ongoing planting and landscaping work. These two new buildings are a long-term dream of the LUC Board of Trustees, JFRC alumni, and Rome Center founder John Felice. The construction project was originally proposed around twelve years ago and underwent various setbacks and timeline adjustments, due to changes in Italian and EU building code requirements within the city of Rome, obtaining requisite legal documentation according to prescribed construction guidelines, and applying for multiple approvals concerning safety and security regulations from the Rome Municipality.
After more than a decade of detailed planning, actual construction began in January 2019 in collaboration with XLAM, an Italian construction company that specializes in state-of-the-art construction technology. After construction plans were approved by architects and engineers both in Chicago and Rome, a process was developed for collaborative oversight. Upon completion of the project, and in conjunction with the ongoing, multi-faceted renovation project of the old building, the JFRC will be able to house about 240 undergraduate students on campus per semester. The new residence hall will have a photovoltaic plant to generate electricity. Loyola opted for a highly sustainable and innovative building system which uses cross-laminated timber technology. Use of this cutting edge, non-flammable technology was assembled in XLAM’s factory in northern Italy and shipped south to Rome, where walls were assembled into the beautiful new residence hall and chapel that are now part of the JFRC campus. There is a second story “bridge” that connects the old building with a wing in the new residence hall.
The JFRC’s new residence hall contains 60 beds. There are ten rooms on each of the three floors. Each room contains a double bed with shared bath; hence, there are twenty beds per floor. There are also two dorm rooms with American-style ADA-compliant bathrooms on each floor, each with two beds. The top floor of the residence hall currently consists of an open area without a permanent roof, as the JFRC was restricted by the Rome Municipality for a very particular percentage of square meters of “habitable space.” The open terrace can be used for campus gatherings and special events during mild weather.
The new reception/welcome desk area is located in a beautiful glass-and-brick entrance several meters from the new entrance gate. There are 63 high-quality security cameras located throughout campus but especially at the main entrance, so that everyone who enters campus must enter through the gate by either “swiping in” using a personal JFRC identity card or getting buzzed in by the guard. All visitors and guests who enter campus are required to register at the welcome desk. The portineria welcome reception area is staffed by a security guard 24/7, and there is additional guarded security located at the entrance of the main gate from 10pm through 8:30am every day.
Once Dr. Andrews receives “permission of usage” for the chapel by the Rome Municipality, the chapel, the new residence hall welcome atrium, and the piazza located just outside the main entrance of the chapel will likely become focal points for student life on campus. Thanks to the generosity of JFRC alumni and the LUC Board of Trustees, these areas will continue to transform the JFRC’s living and residential spaces into Loyola’s full-fledged Jesuit, global campus in the heart of the Eternal City, surrounded by olive groves and 21st-century teaching and learning technology.