SLU’s arena, research building plans advance

Two major projects at Saint Louis University have made important
strides during the summer months.

In mid-May, SLU selected JS Alberici as the design team for the
arena project. According to Kathleen Brady, Vice President for
Facilities Management and Civic Affairs, JS Alberici assembled the
design team and was chosen from three contractors.

Although the contractor has been chosen, a site has not yet been
finalized for the arena. The University’s preferred site is bounded
by Theresa Avenue, Olive Boulevard, Washington Boulevard and
Leonard Avenue. According to Brady, SLU still needs to acquire 50
percent of the site.

There is, however, one problem in SLU’s quest to build the arena
in Grand Center.

According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the owner of the Drake
Plaza Apartments, Jon Pyzyk, has no desire to sell the property to
the University. Acquisition of the Drake Plaza would be necessary
for the arena to be built on the Grand Center site.

“The University has offered the owner of the Drake the appraised
value of the property,” Brady said.

Along with undergoing a $10 million renovation in the late
1980s, the 88-year-old

“If the University is unable to acquire all of the necessary
property in Grand Center, then the arena may be built on the ball
fields,” Brady said. “That option has always been considered a
possibility. When the Grand Center TIF district was established a
year ago, the ball fields were identified even then as an
option.”

The new 12,000 to 13,000-seat arena will serve multiple
purposes, including hosting SLU events, such as men’s and women’s
basketball, commencement, cultural events, conferences and
conventions. In addition, the arena will provide a mid-sized venue
for concerts, family shows, sporting competitions and other
events.

Research Building
SLU is now $3 million closer to the construction of the largest
building project in University history as a recent anonymous
donation has been set aside for the research building.

“The $3 million gift Father Biondi obtained is a tremendous jump
start for the fund-raising and has re-energized the (faculty’s
enthusiasm) that the building will be constructed and is moving
forward,” said Robert Webster, Ph.D., associate provost for
research administration.

According to Webster, the next phase of the project, which has
been approved by the Board of Trustees, is to make a final site
selection and to begin the design of the building. Webster
anticipates that this phase will begin soon.

Currently, the “fund raising committee has been organized and is
working with Alan Bleiweiss of the Development Office to identify
potential donors,” Webster said.