Residents gather to discuss Loyola University proposals

A community meeting was recently held by Alderman Joe Moore (D-49) at Loyola University to review two of the university's development proposals.

A handful of community residents came to the meeting last month to learn about the new proposals, which include improvements to an athletic facility and a residence hall.

Devon Patterson, who works for the design and architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, went over the design of the addition to the Gentile Center, located on 6511 N. Winthrop, which holds Loyola’s athletic department. The goal is to upgrade the facility to conference standards and house Loyola’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The environmentally friendly and energy efficient design includes green roofs for sustainability, which help to lower storm water run-off and reduce the amount of heat transferring into the atmosphere.

The improvements will double the capacity of the weight rooms and have third floor rooms for the coaches. The exterior of the building would be built with cast stone, a limestone substitute, and would have glass, which would allow natural light into the training rooms.

“I think it will be compatible with other buildings to make Loyola a leader in energy conservation,” says Patterson.

The construction will begin in September and should be completed by summer 2010.

“We hope to attract a better caliber of athletes and create a better following,” said Jennifer Clark, Loyola's director of the department of community relations.

In the absence of planning representatives for Coffey Hall, Clark briefly went over the objectives for the building located on 1000 W. Sheridan Road.

The new design would include an elevator and an additional entrance adjacent to the parking lot that would allow entry from both sides and was wheelchair accessible.

The construction for the Coffey Hall will begin in the summer and would end within 18 months.

Residents had questions regarding parking and construction, but were mostly in support of the measure, which would provide more jobs and help Loyola build a thriving sports culture.

“It’s so overdue. It’s going to be a first class facility,” said Bruno Roti, a 66 year resident of Rogers Park.

The Chicago Planning Commission, which oversees projects that fall within the Lakefront Protection Zone, will review the proposal and give final approval with recommendations from the community and Moore.