By Garrison Carr
When Loyola University Chicago students return to class Aug. 27, a new academic building will open its doors: Cuneo Hall, on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park.
Cuneo Hall, whose construction forced a large part of campus to be closed to pedestrian traffic in recent years, will have approximately 16 classrooms as well as offices and academic centers.
Cuneo Hall takes the place of Damen Hall, a building that was generally perceived as needing a dramatic upgrade. John Frendreis, a 20-year veteran of the Loyola political science department, is very excited about the most recent addition to Loyola’s campus.
“Cuneo is the first general classroom facility built on the Lake Shore Campus in the 25 years I have worked here,” Frendreis said. “It is superior to Damen in nearly every respect – sustainability, ease of movement around the building, layout of the teaching space.”
In Frendreis’ time at Loyola, the change has been constant, but always something that improves the campus in the long run.
“The transformation has been dramatic, and well worth the inconvenience of frequent construction,” he said. “Probably the biggest change has been the opening of the Information Commons and the construction and renovation of student housing. The campus has also become significantly more attractive and visually integrated.”
Stephen Manney, a 21-year-old senior with majors in psychology and communication studies at Loyola, agrees that the occasional inconvenience of construction on campus is beneficial because of it’s long term implications.
“One of my favorite aspects of Loyola is that the school is never satisfied with itself in the way that it stands,” Manney said. “It is always striving to offer more and excel in more areas. Seeing the construction on campus ensures me that the school is concerned with the future value of my degree.”
However, not all students agree that the inevitable inconvenience of campus construction is worth it to students.
“At the end of the day a classroom is a classroom and I’d rather have an accessible campus during my four years rather than an inconvenient one,” said Elizabeth Levy, 21, a senior marketing student at Loyola. “I don’t think any upperclassman… would say their four years of walking in giant circles to get to a building, that they can see past a pile of debris, was necessarily worth it.”
Despite that, Levy is still looking forward to utilizing the new building.
“I’m looking forward to having a class in Cuneo because I think buildings like Mundelein, Dumbach, and Cudahy have been so overcrowded in the months of construction at Loyola that it will be nice to have a smoother commute through a building without a lot of student traffic,” she said.
Professor Frendreis is looking forward to putting Cuneo’s technology in the classroom to use.
“I am very excited about teaching in Cuneo. In the time I have spent at Loyola, teaching has become more technology-enhanced and focused on active learning, and the physical environment can either enable or inhibit this,” he said. “I integrate technology into my teaching, and seemingly simple things like lighting, the placement of instructional work stations, and the use of desks versus tables can make a big difference in the kind of setting in which teaching and learning occur.”
Not only is Cuneo a state of the art building when it comes to classroom technology, it is also a leader in sustainable design. Improvements in ventilation systems, heating and cooling, and an automated system which notifies occupants when it would be beneficial to open windows and allow fresh air in the building make Cuneo Hall a truly innovative building.
Cuneo is part of a larger sustainability effort on campus, something that Professor Frendreis thinks is very important for Loyola to take a leading role on.
“I have always felt that we should put into practice the values and knowledge that we seek to transmit to our students,” he said. “Loyola has announced an institutional commitment to preparing people to address the challenges we face as both individuals and members of local, national, and global communities. One of the greatest is the need to live in a sustainable way, and Loyola’s desire to build and renovate facilities that meet LEED standards is an essential step toward meeting that challenge.”