Since the start of its construction in the fall semester of 2014, Bellarmine University’s newest project, a $25 million building called Centro, and its implications have dominated conversations across the campus.

The Centro project includes new construction and renovations to Horrigan Hall and Treece Hall.

The project was designed by architect Henry Potter, head of Potter & Associates Architects, and will be completed by Messer Construction.

Necessary steps were taken to insure that the building will be useful to students and faculty who will one day use it.

“The selected architect met with all of the individuals that would have a space need with this project,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Bob Zimlich.

Next, a cost was determined before construction even began.

Zimlich said: “After getting a rough design of the building, they go to their construction estimator who gives an estimate of the total construction cost. The architect then reviews it [Centro] with the client, which would be Bellarmine.”

The timeframe and estimated costs for Centro have been organized into four phases:

Phase I – Completion of shell and finishing first floors of the new Centro building and existing Horrigan Hall renovations ( HVAC and sprinklers) – $17.4 million

(Projected Finish Date: May


Phase II – Finishing floors 2

and 3 of Centro – $ 3.0 million

(Projected Finish Date: May


Phase III – Additional renova-

tion and addition to Treece Hall

– $ 2.9 million

(Projected Finish Date: May


Phase IV – Finish lobby reno-

vations between Centro and

Treece – $1.7 million

(Projected Finish Date: May


This year’s fundraising challenge of $ 2.7 million dollars will complete Phase I.

Funding for Phase II, which includes the School of Business on the second floor and the Institute for Advanced Analytics on the third floor (though other professors can teach on these floors as well), will be raised by the university and the Development Office, with the help of the business dean, Dr. Robert Brown, and the executive director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics, Zain Khandwala, as well as the Board of Trustees, a 30-member body.

The first floor of the new Centro building will be finished in December 2015 and the second and third floors are projected to be completed by May 2017 based on fundraising.

The first floor will include admissions, career planning and placement, campus ministry, and classrooms, Bellarmine President Dr. Joseph McGowan said.

Phase I will include the shell, first floor, office for admissions, career planning and development, campus ministry, classrooms, upgrades to Horrigan and Treece halls and a three-story glass atrium.

“He [Dr. McGowan] wanted an atrium, not just a space with a few skylights. He really likes the open and airy feeling. He wanted to give everyone a lot of natural light,” Zimlich said.

Additions such as these will undoubtedly attract prospective students, but some argue that the project is excessive when other issues have yet to be resolved.

Junior Sassa Rivera said: “Centro is an embellishment that Bellarmine can’t afford. We have students living in mold-infested dorms from the ‘60s but want to put a greenhouse next to our school of business.”

While students living on campus may be most affected by Centro construction, commuters also worry about where Bellarmine’s priorities lie.

Senior Anna Blake said: “It’s obvious they’re trying to attract and keep more students, which is cool. I do hope that in the effort to attract new students they don’t forget about their current students.”

While the project will offer many areas available to future students, some current students said funds could be better spent.

“Everything they are including in Centro already has a place in another part of campus. I believe Bellarmine should use their endowment for the betterment of the students already enrolled,” Rivera said.

The final dedication of the building may occur in May 2019, though there will be some dedications earlier as the phases are completed, McGowan said.

Some students have voiced concerns about what Centro will mean for existing Bellarmine students, but others remain hopeful that the wait will be worth it.

“I think Centro will be great for the university. I’m really looking forward to the green space and the increased technology,” said junior Lauren Troxell.

There will also be a bell tower with four bells which McGowan said he is looking forward to hearing.

He said he is especially excited about the three-story glass atrium between Cento and Horrigan.

Troxell said: “The pictures I’ve seen show the building being really open with a lot of natural light, and I love how modern it is and how much it highlights natural beauty rather than industrial architecture.”

While there is much fundraising and construction to be done, McGowan said he remains optimistic.

“It’s exciting to see this beautiful building coming together,” said McGowan.

About The Author

Related Posts