McCabe Hall officially dedicated Wednesday afternoon

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Fittingly, the opening of Marquette’s newly dedicated residence hall, McCabe Hall, coincides with the school’s 100th anniversary of admitting women.

Father Wild helped unveil a painting of Father McCabe in the lobby of McCabe Hall.

This is because the building is named for the Rev. James McCabe, the Marquette president who in 1909 made the bold decision to accept females. Marquette was the first Catholic university to do so.

The former Marquette Apartments building, McCabe Hall sits at the corner of 17th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue. Last year the building was renovated into suite-style living residences for sophomores. Students began moving in last week.

On Wednesday afternoon, university officials including University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild, dedicated McCabe, officially establishing it as part of campus.

“It came out far better than even I anticipated,” Wild said in an interview. “I toured it before school started with Tom Ganey, our university architect. We wanted people to have a feel of the tradition because this building was built right around when the Rev. McCabe was president.”

During the dedication ceremony, Wild addressed the sizeable contribution McCabe made to Marquette. In four years as president, McCabe oversaw the establishment of the English, business, journalism, and music programs.

McCabe has eight floors with a total of 91 double and triple rooms, which include separate living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and private bathrooms. It’s similar in many respects to Abbottsford Hall, a freshman residence hall which also offers those amenities.

McCabe pays homage to the building’s original architecture. Constructed in the late 1920s, the building includes plaster details, archways, high ceilings, terrazzo flooring and woodwork detailing.

That is not to mention the modern features, such as a marble front desk countertop and a series of flat-screen plasma televisions that line the first floor lobby.

McCabe is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified meaning it is designed to be energy efficient and environmentally conscious. All of the building’s lights are fluorescent, mattresses do not have springs, toilets use less water and the building’s construction materials include 35 percent or more of recycled content. The building is also fully handicap-accessible.

Meredith Claeys, a fifth-year senior in the College of Engineering, worked with Ganey on the project as part of her co-op. Claney said working on McCabe was a great part of her time with residence life.

“It’s a beautiful building, and it was a very fun process having also been a resident assistant and involved with Residence Life for a long time,” Claeys said.

Ariya Akhavan, a sophomore in the College of Communication, and Jeff Pugh, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, live in McCabe and are loving it so far.

“It’s as good as it gets,” Akhavan said. “I didn’t know what to expect beforehand, because all we saw was the floor-plan. My roommate and I each had 4 o’clock sign-up times, the earliest.”

Pugh lives in a double room, Akhavan a triple. Pugh was awed at what his room had to offer at first glance.

“Everything’s nice and so new, and I even have a kitchen to bake cakes,” Pugh said, referring to the communal kitchen located in the basement of McCabe. “Abbottsford was nice, but it looked like a dorm. This seems classier.”

Maggie Smith, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, lived in Cobeen Hall last year. She said she likes how McCabe pays homage to its past.

“I like the way they incorporated the old styles of the building with the new renovations,” Smith said. “For instance, in the kitchens, they still have the same floors from the old apartments, but everything else is renovated.”

She also mentioned a general enthusiasm from the student body and staff who live there.

“The renovations give it a classic look, and I feel very comfortable living there because all the resident assistants, desk receptionists, Department of Public Safety, and all the rest of the staff and students are really excited to be in McCabe, so it creates a really friendly, positive atmosphere,” Smith said.

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