New residence hall named

  • The new "suite-style" residence hall located on 17th Street and Wisconsin Avenue will be called McCabe Hall.
  • The Rev. James McCabe was the president of Marquette from 1908 to 1911.
  • He led the university in 1909 when it became the first Catholic university in the United States to admit women.
  • The conversion of the former Marquette Apartments will be completed before the student move-in date in August.

Beginning next fall, the former Marquette Apartments will have new tenants and a new name — McCabe Hall.

In fall 2007, Marquette announced its purchase of the eight-story apartment building at 1628 W. Wisconsin Ave. It is being converted into a residence hall with about 216 beds, said Jim McMahon, assistant vice president and dean of the Office of Residence Life.

The new "suite-style" residence hall will be named after Rev. James McCabe the president of Marquette from 1908 to 1911. In 1909, he led Marquette in becoming the first Catholic university in the United States to admit women.

Senior administration and the Office of Residence Life chose the name for the residence hall. They picked it in conjunction with next school year's 100th anniversary celebration of Marquette admitting female students, McMahon said.

"The president of the university took a huge risk at that time (by admitting women)," McMahon said. "Why not honor him?"

The hall will be opened first to sophomores, McMahon said. If they do not fill the space, it could be offered to transfer students, he said. The online selection process will begin March 30.

The increased housing space provided by McCabe Hall will make it easier to accommodate more students in total next year, McMahon said.

The current plan is to have a freshman class of more than 1,900 students, similar to this year's class of 1,950, said University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild in his February presidential address to the university community.

The conversion of the former apartments is on schedule for its August completion date, before students move in for next school year, said Meredith Claeys, a fourth-year student in the College of Engineering and an assistant project coordinator in the Office of the University Architect. Returning students begin moving in Aug. 28.

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The renovations include new carpeting, a new paint job and updating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, Claeys said.

The architects and contractors also worked to keep some of the original architecture, such as archways, high ceilings and terrazzo flooring in certain areas, Claeys said.

The majority of the rooms in McCabe Hall will house three students, said Rick Arcuri, associate dean for administration in the Office of Residence Life. However, about three rooms on each floor will be doubles.

Most of the rooms will feature a bedroom and a separate living room, Claeys said, and each unit will have its own bathroom.

Every room will also have a new sink and countertop in the kitchen area, said Mike Jahner, project manager in the Office of the University Architect.

Claeys said the university has strived to make the building environmentally friendly, in ways like using carpeting made from recyclable materials and putting energy-efficient LED lights in hallways.

The first floor will have a common area with a hall store, two television sets and seating for about 60 students. The area will be in front of the security desk, so any student can walk in and use the lounge 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Arcuri said.

The ground level will also feature a game room, conference room, piano and study room, prayer room, kitchenette and laundry room, Claeys said.

Dany's Foods, Sweeney's College Books and Ziggie's Restaurant previously occupied the first floor. The university had planned to build around Ziggie's, whose lease was set to expire in 2014. However, owner Nicholas Onassis accepted a financial offer from the university and moved out at the end of 2008.

The increased space on the first floor allowed the McCabe Hall project coordinators to create a more efficient and economic layout, Claeys said. There was talk previously of putting some amenities in the basement, in addition to the first floor, she said.

There are no current plans to utilize the basement, Jahner said.

The first floor rooms can now be made larger with the added space. Had Ziggie's remained to the end of its original lease, the university likely would have made changes to the first floor after Onassis left, Jahner said.

"We wouldn't have gotten as good of a finished product," Jahner said. "This allowed us to do it right the first time."

Claeys said she would want to live in McCabe Hall if she were a sophomore next year. She cited aspects like the architecture, amount of space and decorative features that make the rooms feel "classier" and "mature."

"It's more of a transition between a residence hall room and an apartment," Claeys said. "(McCabe Hall) is like an Abbottsford for sophomores. It will be the premier sophomore housing."

Mike Muratore, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and vice president of the Residence Hall Association, toured a model room of the residence hall last semester. He said he would enjoy being a resident of McCabe Hall because of the nice features and smaller community living there.

"There's something to be said for a smaller residence hall," Muratore said.

Brian Pelrine, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and RHA president, also toured the model room. He said it was very comfortable and that students will enjoy living there.

"Once the information gets out, I think people will be excited," Pelrine said.