The Catholic University of America

Dec. 15, 2008

New Catholic University Residence Hall Dedicated

Opus Hall Ready for Student Residents in January


  Participating in the ribbon cutting at the dedication of Opus Hall are (from left) Susan D. Pervi, Most Rev. William E. Lori, Very Rev. David M. O'Connell and Neil J. Rauenhorst.

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president, blessed and dedicated Catholic University's newly constructed Opus Hall on Monday, Dec. 15. To watch a video of the dedication, click here. For more photos, click here.

Father O'Connell was joined in a ribbon-cutting ceremony by members of CUA's board of trustees, including Most Rev. William E. Lori, bishop of Bridgeport, chairman of the board of trustees and alumnus of CUA; and Neil J. Rauenhorst, B.S. Arch. 1976, trustee and donor. The name "Opus Hall" recognizes the $3 million gift from Rauenhorst, his wife, Becky, and the Opus Group.

"It is a great pleasure for me to stand here today and celebrate the completion of Opus Hall," Rauenhorst said. "I hope this will help in the recruiting of undergraduate students. I thank Father O'Connell and senior administrators as they deliver on a promise that at Catholic University, a student can have it all."

Ground was broken for the residence hall just under two years ago. 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 following Christmas break.

"The Catholic University of America is growing in size and stature as the national university of the Catholic Church in America," Father O'Connell said. "This growth is evidenced by our need to provide additional housing opportunities for the many new and continuing students who desire to take advantage of this great educational opportunity, set in our nation's capital, and grounded in the ideals and values of the Catholic faith.

Vice President for University Relations Frank Persico assists as Bishop Lori and Father O'Connell bless the hall. They are accompanied by Pervi and Rauenhorst.

"The entire university community is profoundly grateful for your vision, Neil and Becky, for your commitment and dedication to the university," he added. "It is through the efforts of alumni and trustees like you that great places of higher learning become even greater."

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.

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.

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.

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.


Members of the university community and Board of Trustees tour one of Opus Hall's expansive kitchens.

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.

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.

"It was not that long ago we were blessing the renovated McGivney Hall," Bishop Lori said, referring to the dedication only three months ago of another building on campus. "Your work, your leadership has transformed our campus inside and out," he said of Father O'Connell, thanking him for his dedication to the university.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.