The Catholic University of America

Dec. 5, 2008

New Catholic University Residence Hall to Be Dedicated

Opus Hall Ready for Student Residents in January

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president, will bless and dedicate Catholic University's newly constructed Opus Hall on Monday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m.

Located in the campus's northeast corner on the west side of John McCormack Road, just south of Taylor Street, Opus Hall will house about 400 students. The first residents will move in in January. (A photo gallery of the construction of Opus Hall is available here.)

In keeping with its environmental sustainability efforts, CUA is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification of the residential facility. The certification is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance "green" buildings.

Opus Hall marks the first major construction project at CUA since the completion of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center in 2003. Like the Pryzbyla Center, Opus Hall reflects another step in efforts to physically unify the campus. Plans call for building a second residence hall adjacent to Opus Hall and demolishing student residence halls currently located on the university's South Campus to make way for development.

"The opening of Opus Hall will have an impact on our campus for what it offers to our students as well as being a symbol of our northward reorientation of residential life at CUA," Father O'Connell says. "And with its design and incorporation of common areas, Opus Hall will reinforce the sense of community that Catholic University hopes to offer to each and every one of its students."

Each suite within the building consists of one double and three single bedrooms, a common living room, double sink, lavatory and shower. Each floor boasts an expansive kitchen and common area. Hard-wired data, cable TV and phone jacks are provided in each bedroom, and cable TV and phone jacks are available in the common living area.

Wireless data access will be available throughout the building. Student residents will have access to a large community/lounge space including a fireplace, a "contemplative space" for small prayer groups and other quiet individual and small-group activities, a central laundry and study area, and a 2,100-square-foot outdoor terrace.

The emphasis on common spaces in the building's design incorporates input provided by students to a survey conducted by the Office of Housing Services.

Students living on the building's top floor will be about 70 feet in the air, looking over CUA's Centennial Village residential community and out at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The name Opus Hall recognizes a $3 million gift for the building project from Neil J. Rauenhorst, his wife, Becky, and the Opus Group. Rauenhorst is a 1976 graduate of the university's School of Architecture and Planning and a member of CUA's Board of Trustees.

The opening of Opus Hall in the spring semester will enable the university to begin extensive renovations on Gibbons Hall, CUA's second oldest student residential facility, which was built in 1912. The 140 students who resided in Gibbons in the fall of 2008 were given priority to move in to Opus Hall for the spring 2009 semester.

MEDIA: Reporters wishing to cover the blessing and dedication should contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.