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Restoration Of St. Mary’s Hall Begins

Heights Editor

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 01:01

The new year welcomes not only Stokes Hall, but also a recent approval by the Boston College Board of Trustees for the complete restoration of St. Mary’s Hall.

Located across from Bapst Library on Linden Lane, St. Mary’s was founded in 1917 as the primary Jesuit residence facility, a preferential option for daily commuting to the University.  
Often ranked among the the top most beautiful college campuses, BC is well known for its classic Gothic architecture and cast stone buildings. St. Mary’s is not the only building to undergo renovation in recent years, however—Gasson Hall, BC’s original academic building, reopened in September 2011 after months of restoration work.

A fence was put up surrounding St. Mary’s last Monday in order to begin the 24-month renovation. Renovation plans “entail a complete facelift of St. Mary’s,” said University Spokesman Jack Dunn in a press release.

“We’re going to restore all of the exterior cast stone on the building and restore the original leaded glass exterior windows. It’s going to be a very similar exterior restoration to the Gasson Hall project,” said Thomas Runyon, project manager for the restoration of St. Mary’s. In addition to replacement of the cast stone and windows, the roof will be completely replaced.

The interior will be renovated as well. “The top three floors and the ground floor will be completely renovated,” Runyon said. “The first floor will be kept in tact in terms of room layouts for the most part.” The residential floors, however, will be completely upgraded in order to serve as better housing units for the Jesuit community. Such an upgrade, Runyon said, includes redoing the entire kitchen. “The chapel will be preserved with air conditioning and fire protection being added,” Runyon said.

As the second oldest building on campus after Gasson Hall, St. Mary’s new look will maintain its original purpose: even after a complete restoration, it will still serve as a Jesuit residence, as it has for the past 96 years.

Until the project is completed, the Jesuit residents have been relocated to 2000 Commonwealth Ave., an apartment complex and high rise building owned by the University. For the next two years, the business and administrative offices that were once located in St. Mary’s Hall have been moved to 30 Old Colony Rd.

The restoration project is expected to last through October 2014, when new furnishing will be installed and interior decorating will be completed. The building will not reopen to the BC community, however, until January 2015.

The previous Jesuit residences will not be the only ones making the improved St. Mary’s their new home in 2015—the offices of the computer science and communication departments will be moved into the south wing of St. Mary’s. The south wing will, after the project, be used as academic space for the University, housing offices for not only these two departments but also for the Woods College of Advancing Studies.

The renovation plan, which was developed through a year-long design effort, is expected to transform St. Mary’s Hall, similar to the significant changes seen in the restoration of Gasson Hall.

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