Ribbon Cut on New SHU Residence Hall

CENTERBROOK, Conn. – Centerbrook Architects & Planners’ latest residence hall design has welcomed its first class of students.

Sacred Heart University cut the ceremonial ribbon yesterday on its new 87,000-square-foot Jorge Bergoglio Residence Hall as the 2016-17 academic year gets underway.

Honoring the birth name of Pope Francis, a tradition for student living quarters at Sacred Heart, Bergoglio Hall is situated at the northern approach to the campus in Fairfield, Connecticut. Designed by Centerbrook to transition sophomores to independent living while maintaining individual support, the 216-bed facility places students in small neighborhood-like clusters consisting of groupings of four-bed suites that share a local lounge, kitchen and laundry along with other amenities.

“The design of Bergoglio Hall will generate student communities,” said Centerbrook partner Mark Simon, FAIA. “Its homelike warmth and village structure will connect residents to each other as well as to the surrounding campus. Surprising views between floors and with exterior spaces invite social interaction and activity.”

Students can gather in their small lounges or in a three-story commons on the first floor adjoining the main entrance. The commons abuts a 1,400-square-foot fitness center, a state-of-the-art video gaming room, and multi-purpose meeting and social rooms. The gaming room will be home to the university’s competitive video game club sport.

“Jorge Bergoglio Hall, which honors Pope Francis, has brought a new and exciting energy to our campus,” said SHU President John J. Petillo. “The building is beautiful and welcoming, the rooms meet the needs of our students and the hall’s amenities, including the gaming room, the CrossFit gym and the lobby complete with a fireplace, support our belief in spaces where students can gather and continue the dialogue that leads to learning. Our sophomore students are grateful to call such a comfortable and modern place their home.”

The design is emphasized by two residential wings that run southward from the main entrance and form a protected outdoor courtyard. At the end of each residential wing is a glass stair tower that punctuates the building’s shape and presents a framed view of the existing campus.

“This building is going to impact students in a different way than any other residence hall has before,” said Lauren Silver, a SHU senior and resident success assistant in Bergoglio Hall. “My goal as an RSA has always been to help students love Sacred Heart as much as I do. Having the opportunity to do it in this magnificent building is not going to make my job very hard.”

The ceremonial building opening was the culmination of 19 months of site construction managed by national contractor Shawmut Design & Construction.

“Shawmut Construction did a great job building Bergoglio Hall,” said Centerbrook principal and project manager Ted Tolis, AIA, LEED AP. “The project was in good hands with Kohler Ronan as the consulting mechanical/electrical engineer and Girard and Company, who handled structural engineering. Steven Stimson Associates produced the beautiful and extensive landscape design that seamlessly integrates the residence hall into the existing campus.”

Centerbrook’s work with Sacred Heart follows previous residential halls projects that include Bard College, University of Northern Colorado, University of Texas-Austin, Wesleyan University and more than 30 different dwellings at Quinnipiac University.