By Jack Brennan ’24
Loyola Hall, one of Saint Ignatius High School’s oldest buildings on campus, is set to have a new interior look for the 2023-24 school year. No longer will the second floor hallway be a crooked, dark corridor; rather, it will be gutted and replaced with a brand new hallway and set of classrooms, complete with a small student common area for studying. The renovations are part of Phase 1 of the school’s Vision ‘30 Project, a project seeking to refresh the campus of Saint Ignatius High School and invest in student education at the school. The renovations to Loyola Hall will include new ceilings, lighting, paint, flooring, as well as new standardized classroom technology, and a downscaling of classrooms, from 14 to 12, to make the building feel less cramped while also allowing for more designated common space. Renovation will begin just prior to the end of the school year and will run through August. The new floors are set to be fully functional and holding classes by the start of the next school year.
The changes also come along with a reorganization of several of the school departments. The Math Department will be moving into the newly renovated second and third floors of Loyola with the goal of being situated in a closer proximity to the Science Department, which reflects a long-term goal of the school. As Mr. Sabol put it in an interview, “The overall goal, that connects with some future plans as well, is to create a little bit more cohesion between departments academically. So specifically for this summer, you’ll have math situated directly next door to science, which is going to set them up for the future for more formal collaborations or even just informal collaborations, and to sort of a STEM side of campus, so to speak.” He went on to explain that this change is being spearheaded by a group of teachers and administrators on campus who have met “to help find ways to better organize our current curriculum, so that we can examine it and find the best opportunities for change and growth, if there are any,” noting that the group is in no way mandating change where it is not needed but trying to find ways to improve areas that need improvement. No major curricular overhauls are currently set to be implemented any time within the next year; however, moving similar departments closer to one another is a step towards the long-term goal of inter department collaboration.
With the Math Department now taking up both the second and third floors of Loyola Hall, the Theology Department, which currently resides on those floors, will be relocated to occupy the space that is currently the Math Wing as well as parts of the first floor of the Main Building. Along with this, the History Department will be dispersed around campus with classes being taught in the Durkin Room, the Castell Room, Gibbons Hall, the Chapel Basement, and parts of the Science Building. Dr. Fior explained that this seemingly random placement of history classrooms is purely temporary, and future campus developments will likely see a new, reunified home.
The renovations are being funded fully through a capital campaign with the goal of reinvesting a large sum of school capital into campus renovations that will improve the learning environment as well as providing opportunities for students from all different backgrounds to attend and make the most out of Ignatius. Dr. Fior remarked, “the school is undertaking a massive capital campaign, both for the endowment to make school the tuition affordable and accessible to students, but also to make these capital improvements that are, as many would argue, long overdue in terms of investing significant dollars in the academic program and spaces on campus for all kids, not just a sector of kids.” The campaign itself seeks to shift the focus of the school’s investments directly towards improvement to the academic landscape of the school. “I think that students should be excited,” Dr. Fior added, “Students should be excited that the school is making a significant investment in the academic program of the school — its teachers, students, and spaces. It’s an incredible investment that the school and the board is doing for students, and it’s all for academics.” Needless to say, the school is set on a robust vision of its future, and the future of its student’s classroom experience and these renovations to Loyola Hall are only the beginning.