Historic Thomas Hall renovation celebrated with open house and dedication
Loyola press release - September 26, 2011
Loyola University New Orleans recently completed a major renovation of Thomas Hall, one of the university’s original buildings, which served as a residence and chapel for Jesuits of the New Orleans Province until 2005. To celebrate the renovation’s completion, the university will host an open house at Thomas Hall on Sept. 27, with a dedication ceremony for the Loyola community at 12:30 p.m. and a reception for the general public starting at 5 p.m.
Built in 1911, the year before Loyola University received its charter, Thomas Hall is named for Louise C. Thomas who funded the construction in memory of her late husband Stanley O. Thomas, a cotton broker. The historic building’s $14.5 million renovation repurposes it as a resource and visitor center for students and prospective students. The building now offers students a one-stop-shop administrative hub, housing the Offices of Admissions, Student Records, the Bursar, Financial Aid and Student Finance.
The project preserved several historical qualities of Thomas Hall, including its stained and leaded glass windows, wood lattice windows, a wooden staircase, the original doors to the front of the building, and the exterior masonry which features ornamental carved pre-cast books, flora and Tudor gothic crenellation. The chapel’s original marble floors and painted ceilings were uncovered and restored during the renovation. That space is now the Whitney Bank Presentation Room, thanks to a generous $500,000 gift by Whitney Bank. The Whitney Bank Presentation Room will serve as a gathering space and reception area for prospective Loyola families, but will also be available for other university functions.
In order to meet the building’s new programmatic needs, a discreet 5,100 square foot addition was constructed on the eastern side of the building, but the design respects the original façade by exposing the historic wall within an open multi-floor atrium. In keeping with the university’s efforts toward environmental stewardship, the building will seek LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. As a result, energy, air quality and water efficient design was paramount in all decisions related to the renovation project.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to visit Thomas Hall on Sept. 27 from 12:30 – 2 p.m. to participate in a dedication and blessing ceremony followed by a reception. The Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D., university president, joined by Joseph S. Exnicios, Whitney Bank president, will highlight the program. Loyola alumni, neighbors of the university and other members of the community are invited to an evening open house and reception from 5 – 7 p.m. Both events will feature refreshments, music and tours of the building.
For more information, please contact Meredith Hartley in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at 504-722-6078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.