September 06, 2022
A rendering of the Conway School of Nursing building

As the Catholic University community welcomes fresh faces and old friends to campus this fall, here’s the latest on the construction that is designed to improve the grounds, facilities, and the overall student experience. And a friendly reminder that safety comes first; construction sites are off-limits to any who are not directly involved with the construction activities.

Conway School of Nursing and Campus Gateway

Construction of a picturesque main entrance to campus including a centerpiece circular fountain and a new academic building that will house the Conway School of Nursing is ongoing. The projects are expected to be substantially complete at the beginning of 2024. The nursing program will need to conduct a series of trials, training, and tests on the state-of-the-art simulation labs and equipment before the planned opening of the building for classes at the beginning of the fall 2024 semester. 

Note that some sidewalks and roads around what will be the building and the Campus Gateway are inaccessible due to construction and barricades block traffic across that area of campus. The site is entirely surrounded by fencing and signs that direct the community toward detours for safe passage around the construction.

In early September, the existing sidewalk on the campus side of Michigan Avenue will be absorbed into the construction site and one drive lane in front of the site will be closed during construction hours for safety reasons (7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday). Pedestrians will need to cross to the southside of Michigan using the crosswalks at Seventh Street and Monroe Street. Outside of construction hours, the closed-to-traffic drive lane will be safe and open for pedestrians to walk past the site. 

Please watch for further updates from the University detailing construction-related closures impacting pedestrian and vehicle traffic. See the map below.

An aerial map showing the boundaries of the Nursing School construction. No vehicular access between Mullen Library, Maloney Hall, or Fr O'Connell Hall.  No pedestrian access east of Mullen Library or east of Father O'Connell Hall. The sidewalk on the north side of Michigan Ave between Father O'Connell Hall and Maloney Hall is closed to pedestrian traffic Monday-Saturday from 7am to 7pm.

Caldwell Hall

The first phase of renovations for historic Caldwell Hall is well underway. A new elevator that serves all floors of the main building as well as all levels of the Chapel is the primary component of the first phase. A new egress stair and air conditioning will also be installed to serve the St. Paul’s Chapel wing. Accessibility improvements will be made to public restrooms throughout the building. The Canon Law Library on the third floor will be expanded to more than double the size of the previous space in honor of Monsignor Thomas Green. Finally, a new classroom will be created on the first floor.

The second phase, beginning late Spring 2023, includes installation of a new elevator for the Seton Wing. In addition, through the generosity of donors, refinishing of the pews and restoration of historic finishes and various sacred elements in the Chapel space will be undertaken. These phased renovations in Caldwell Hall are anticipated to be complete by the end of 2023.

Please note that some of the more extensive activities will impact religious services. St. Paul's Chapel will be closed on weekdays this year from 5:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Faculty, staff, and students should not enter the chapel during those hours. As long as the chapel continues to close on weekdays, the Blessed Sacrament will not be reserved in the main body of the chapel.

Still, on weekday afternoons Confessions will be heard in Caldwell Chapel (in the left-side sacristy) from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Rosary will be prayed at 4:45 p.m., and Mass will be celebrated at 5:10 p.m. Also, the usual Tuesday and Thursday evening hours of Eucharistic Adoration will continue in Caldwell Chapel. On Sundays, a Spanish Mass will be offered at 12:00 p.m.

For the University's complete liturgical schedule, please visit the Campus Ministry website.

Hartke Theatre

Largely “invisible” updates for fire/life safety, accessibility and components of the HVAC system at the Hartke Theatre complex were substantially complete at the start of the semester. The most visible change is new sculptural statement lighting for the upper and lower lobbies of the Main Stage, replacing the illumination original to the building. 

McMahon Hall

Updates to the fire/life safety in the building, including a new interior egress staircase, are substantially complete. In addition, a large, new classroom in the northeast corner of the third floor was created by removing office partitions and opening up the ceiling to expose the historic trusses and upper level windows.

Columbus School of Law

A portion of the lower level of the Columbus School of Law Building will soon be converted into a collaborative space for the school’s centers and projects promoting scholarship, the rule of law, and American constitutionalism from a Catholic perspective. The construction contract was recently awarded and preparatory work is underway. The reconfiguration of the space is expected to finish in December. 

West Campus Solar Array

The home for the region’s largest urban ground solar array will soon be at Catholic University, on the West Campus across from Leahy Hall and along Harewood Rd. Groundbreaking for the project, which is part of the University’s leadership on environmental stewardship, began with site preparation work starting the week of August 22, 2022.

The Developer is beginning what is expected to be a month-long process removing some of the trees to make room for the panels. Through an arrangement with the District of Columbia’s Urban Forestry Division, some of the harvested wood will be repurposed and donated to local schools, parks, and nonprofits for community development. Heritage trees will be protected and the nursery of Casey Trees will not be affected. An approximately three month process to further prepare the site will follow. 

The solar arrays are expected to be in place by early next year and the project may be operational as soon as fall 2023.

New Lighting for the Baseball and Softball Fields

Lighting for the baseball and softball fields enables play later into the evening. Improvements such as this to our athletic facilities will allow both our varsity and recreational programs additional time each day to enjoy activity and reduce missed practice opportunities and scheduling conflicts. The new lighting system includes energy-efficient and controllable LED technology fixtures that optimize visibility and minimize glare and spill-over light.