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From Vision to Reality: The Transformation Begins!

Spring 2018 is just around the corner—and construction is about to begin on Phase One of our multiphase Campus Master Plan, which will transform our Wilmette Campus with a new state-of-the-art aquatic center, a gathering space inspired by the St. Ignatius Piazza in Rome and more.
As our spring groundbreaking approaches, we’d like to introduce you to the world-class architectural design and construction firms that will be helping us realize our bold vision of a vibrant Jesuit faith and education center for the 21st century.

After a rigorous review and selection process, we have joined forces with CannonDesign—an integrated global design firm with a dynamic team of architects, engineers and industry experts—and Valenti Builders, an award-winning construction management firm with a commitment to the values that are at the heart of our Jesuit mission.

“This is an exciting moment for the Loyola community as we begin to take the large-scale capital enhancements included in Phase One of our Campus Master Plan from concept to reality,” notes Building and Grounds Committee Chair Peter J. Broccolo ’74, who previously guided the development of Loyola’s multiphase Campus Master Plan as chair of the Campus Master Planning Committee.

“CannonDesign understands how important good design is to the human experience—and to our school community,” says Broccolo. “Their team of architects, designers, planners and engineers has been working since Fall 2017 to connect the school’s mission and long-term vision to the designs for our new pool and piazza. Meanwhile, representatives from Valenti Builders are bringing their considerable expertise in preconstruction consulting and construction management to the table as they work with CannonDesign on project pricing, logistics and scheduling. We have great confidence in this team as we move into the final phases of preparation for the construction of the pool, piazza and other Phase One capital enhancements. But our work is far from done as we continue to seek support for these enhancements, as well as Phase Two enhancements such as a new theater for the performing arts.”

CannonDesign—with a 100-year history of bold thinking and daring design that has earned the firm a coveted position on Fast Company’s list of the world’s top 10 most innovative architecture firms—is the perfect partner to bring our bold vision to life.

“Our top priority is to capture the spirit of Loyola Academy as we move through the design process for the new pool and piazza,” says CannonDesign Vice President of Architecture Thomas M. Clune Jr., AIA. “Our overarching goals are to meet the needs of Loyola’s students, athletes, families and the larger community while serving as careful stewards of the school’s resources and creating innovative designs that reflect Loyola’s distinctive Jesuit mission.”

Mies van der Rohe once famously noted that “God is in the details”—a reference to the almost spiritual devotion to detail that is required to create architecture of lasting value. This philosophy—which is very much in keeping with our Jesuit philosophy of doing more and becoming more for the greater glory of God—is driving the CannonDesign team as it puts the finishing touches on designs for our new aquatic center and piazza.

“Plans currently in design for the aquatic center include an eight-lane ‘Stretch 25,’ multi-use pool with a separate diving well and two one-meter springboards, which will allow simultaneous swimming and diving practices and faster transitions between swimming and diving events during competitive meets,” reports CannonDesign Chicago Design Principal Robert Benson, the lead designer for our Phase One capital enhancements. “This will be a ‘fast pool,’ with wide lanes and flush-to-the-deck gutters. A moveable bulkhead will enable Loyola to host water polo games and championship swim meets in faster, all-deep water and allow swimmers to warm up and cool down in the diving area before and after their events. Wide deck areas around the pool will make competitive events more efficient and comfortable for participants and officials. The pool will also accommodate numerous recreation and instructional programs.”

Our new pool will be housed in a bright and airy two-story natatorium with advanced mechanical systems designed to ensure optimal indoor air quality, a suite of locker rooms with separate team and physical education locker areas, a coaches’ office, a wet classroom adjacent to the pool area and a 294-seat spectator gallery with retractable bleachers that will enable Loyola swimming and diving coaches and physical education teachers to repurpose the gallery level as a dry classroom between swimming and diving meets.

As this $12.4 million pool and natatorium project makes the transition from vision to reality, we will also be completing our$1 million piazza project, expanding our on-campus parking, rerouting our drop-off and pickup lanes to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion on side streets, installing new stormwater detention systems, updating our directional signage and beautifying our campus with landscape borders and buffers.

Valenti Builders’ Senior Superintendent Daniel A. Nowak ’83
has been on site at Loyola Academy since December 1, 2017, familiarizing himself with school operations and traffic-flow patterns.

“Dan Nowak has been working on what we call ‘campus continuity,’ which entails a thorough review of the way that Loyola staff and students currently use the campus,” explains Valenti Builders President Daniel J. Valenti ’01. “This will enable us to ensure that the campus will continue to function normally once construction begins. We have been working with Loyola Academy day in and day out as we finalize a construction logistics and phasing plan that puts safety first and minimizes the impact of construction on school and student activities, parking and traffic flow.”

According to Valenti Project Manager Jack Scapin ’98, the first signs of construction will be visible in late May as the school year draws to a close.

“We plan to complete the general site work—which includes the reconfiguration of the school’s drop-off and pickup lanes to ease traffic congestion, new asphalt parking lots with additional spaces, new stormwater detention systems and new campus lighting and landscaping—before students return to campus in August 2018 for the start of the academic year,” he notes. “Construction on the pool and piazza will commence in June 2018, with an anticipated completion date of August 2019.”

 “Our goal is to serve the Loyola community by delivering state-of-the-art facilities while driving schedule, quality and value,” says Valenti. “We’re really in a unique position. The majority of our key team members walked the halls of Loyola as students. It’s not very often that a project team has the opportunity to serve an institution that has served us and our families so well. This is a personal, special project for our team and our firm.”

Watch for more news about our Spring 2018 groundbreaking and Phase One construction progress—as well as fundraising for our planned theater for the performing arts and other Phase Two capital enhancements—in the weeks and months to come.

Loyola Academy

1100 Laramie Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-1089  |  847-256-1100
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