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Saint Xavier University breaks ground on new residence hall

Second to be built to LEED Silver environmental standards

Chicago (Nov. 9, 2007) – Saint Xavier University broke ground in a ceremony Thursday for a new residence hall to be located on the northeast quadrant of its Chicago campus.

University officials anticipate the 108-bed facility, approved by the SXU Board of Trustees at its Oct. 10 meeting, will be finished by August 2008. The new facility is in keeping with the University’s Strategic Plan, which calls for a minimum of 1000 students to be living on its Chicago campus. Currently, approximately 700 live on campus and another 140 in off campus housing.

“This new residence hall represents Saint Xavier’s continued growth and strength as a leading comprehensive Catholic university,” said SXU President Judith A. Dwyer, Ph.D. 

Saint Xavier will build the new residence hall to LEED Silver environmental standards as set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. SXU’s Arthur Rubloff Hall, which opened fall 2006, became the first university building in the state of Illinois to receive the coveted LEED Gold designation.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a continuing commitment by Saint Xavier to go green,” said SXU Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas E. Chomicz. “It is a commitment to the construction of an energy efficient building...It represents an effort in a small way to make the world a better place.” 

Also taking part in the ceremony were 19th Ward Alderman Virginia Rugai; Mike McDermott of Environmental Systems Design, Inc.; William Callaghan of Henry Bros. Co., Kyle Kim of Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Associates, and SXU student Alyson Kelley of Aurora.

The 36,664 square-foot residence hall will have both natural and mechanical ventilation and a 50-foot high circular glass stair tower. It will use passive solar and wind energy for summer night pre-cooling and winter heating to improve building energy efficiency and occupant comfort with natural ventilation.

The building will use 100 percent Green Power from a wind farm to carbon offset all electrical energy consumed in the residence. The roof will have 40 solar panels for solar thermal water heating and a rain garden to collect roof water runoff. 

The indoor air quality in the student rooms will be significantly above American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) standards. All student rooms will have windows that can be opened to promote natural ventilation air patterns, harvest natural daylight and allow beautiful views of the Saint Xavier campus, providing all students with a closer connection to nature.

The architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Associates provided designs for the building. The firm designed three previous residence halls for Saint Xavier, including Rubloff. The construction management firm will be Henry Bros. Co. Civil engineering will be conducted by Terra Civil Engineering. 
Environmental Systems Design, Inc. will provide mechanical engineering. 

Last spring, ASHRAE presented Saint Xavier University and 
Environmental Systems Design, Inc. with Chapter and Regional Engineering Technology Awards for Rubloff Hall. The awards recognized achievements in the design of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and retrofits.  

A leader in green practices, Saint Xavier is a member of the Illinois Sustainable University Compact, which has pledged to accomplish multiple environmentally sound goals by Dec. 31, 2010. These goals include energy purchases from renewable sources, reduced carbon emissions, and requiring green building practices for all new construction. More recently, SXU became the first Chicago university to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment, joining 415 other schools nationwide in a pledge to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.