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University Center to undergo major renovation

Seton Hall announced plans for a major renovation of the University Center in an email to students on Tuesday.

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Seton Hall announced major renovation plans for the University Center. (Photo courtesy of Seton Hall University)

The renovation of the Bishop Dougherty University Center, which was built in the early 1960’s, will include new broadcasting studio space, an event room and new prayer rooms, according to the University’s announcement.

“This project will create Seton Hall’s newest campus icon: an inviting, architecturally beautiful University Center that will revolutionize the student experience and enhance the entire Setonian community,” the University noted on its website.

The announcement comes one day after the University published its strategic plan, which outlines several broad, long-term goals for the School.

Additionally, a new façade of stone and glass will help the building to “visually connect to other landmark buildings on campus,” the announcement said, referencing the architecture of President’s Hall, the University’s administrative center.

The “reimagined” University Center will also include a piazza for outdoor dining, new spaces for food vendors, and informal performance spaces.

The Main Lounge, Living Room, Pirates Cove, Theatre-in-the-Round and club offices will be updated, according to the announcement. The renovation will not affect the attached cafeteria, which was rebuilt in 2018.

According to the announcement, the design will extend ADA compliance.

The project will be funded by private philanthropy as well as bonds from the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, which will generate nearly $109 million in capital for the University. The bonds will also fund the reconstruction of Turrell Manor. 

Last May, South Orange Village’s planning board granted Seton Hall an extension to a 2016 approval for a renovation to the University Center.

The University has yet to set a clear timeline for the project. Major capital projects were placed on hold in April by the University as part of cost-saving measures implemented in response to financial strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Daniel O’Connor can be reached at daniel.oconnor1@student.shu.edu. Find him on Twitter @itsDanOConnor.

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