Marian Mall expansion will begin over Easter Break, ready by Fall 2016

An architectural rendering of the prayer grotto, which will serve as a location for prayer and meditation.

The extension of the mall and construction of a prayer grotto will begin in the next few weeks, said Mr. Richard Klingshirn ‘79, school Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.

The project will expand the existing mall to include Carroll Ave between W. 30th and Wasmer Field. Ignatius currently owns all the property north of the campus on that stretch, which includes the Jesuit residence and the former Arrupe Volunteer House.

The focal point of the project will be the addition of a prayer grotto in honor of Dr. Michael Pennock ‘64 and Mr. Jim Skerl ‘74. Both were beloved members of the Ignatius Theology Department.

Pennock died in 2009. Jim Skerl passed away after a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer in 2014.

An overview of the Marian Mall. W. 30th street is to the left, the building shown is the Jesuit Residence
An overview of the Marian Mall. W. 30th street is to the left, the building shown is the Jesuit Residence

The Marian Mall will include a meandering pathway marked by size 15 shoe prints, a nod to Skerl, a former Ignatius and John Carroll University basketball player. Along the pathway will elements highlighting the Corporal Works of Mercy, which Skerl–the founder of the Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearers Society and Labre Ministry–was especially devoted. The central feature, a prayer grotto, will include a water feature, stained glass window, and statue of Mary.

Klingshirn foresees that the grotto will become “a place of prayer and meditation, as well as a gathering location for classes, retreat groups and athletic teams.”

Despite the changes, the construction project shouldn’t create much disruption for students or staff. Access to Carroll Avenue east of 30th Street will be closed after Easter Break, and students will not be able to enter or exit campus via the back quad during construction. Staff parking will be relocated to the Breen Center lot.

Work on the Marian Mall will continue through the summer, with the project completed by this fall.