Students Get Glimpse Inside Arrupe HallMarch 27, 2015

Since ground was broken March 2014, Rockhurst University’s students have been able to see the outward-facing progress in the newest addition to campus, Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Hall.

But on Thursday, a small group of students got a unique chance to go inside the building expected to open at the start the 2015-16 academic year while it is still under construction. The three levels of the building, which when complete will house academic classrooms, faculty offices and a 500-seat auditorium, are in different states of completion. Many of the spaces on the third floor are enclosed in drywall, while the first floor remains partially skeletal. However, reactions from the students after the tour indicated they could envision what the finished building will look like, inside and out.

“I was worried that it wouldn’t flow really well with campus, just because it is such a new building and uses these new concepts,” said Katarina Waller, a junior studying English and secondary education. “But it seems to work really well and the architects have thought about all of these aspects of campus to highlight.”

Matt Heinrich, associate vice president of facilities and technology for Rockhurst, said access to Arrupe Hall is limited because the building is an active construction site, making safety a priority. But a small number of University administrators and others have been given similar tours. There was interest, he said, to do the same for a small number of students.

“Everybody wants to know what’s going on inside,” he said. “I thought this would be a fun way to let the students see for themselves.”

Heinrich and a representative from J.E. Dunn Construction Company shared information on the building’s main functions and its special features: the open layout of the main hallway and the inclusion of a Roasterie café, the built-in efforts to increase energy efficiency and classroom technology and flexibility, and more access to natural light in many areas, including the rooms dedicated to fine arts.

Colleen Garvey, a junior studying English, said given that she will have many of her classes in Arrupe Hall next year, she was happy to see inside and have some of her questions answered.

“I was really interested in the layout and where the classrooms are going to be,” she said. “And it was really great to see how many windows were in it. It’s beautiful, with a lot of cool views. I could really picture myself in there.”

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