Spiritan Laval House gets renovations

Sydney Bauer | Staff Photographer Fences and construction equipment sit outside the Laval House on A-Walk. The Laval House is home to two Spiritan priests as well as a Spiritan seminarian.

Sydney Bauer | Staff Photographer

Fences and construction equipment sit outside the Laval House on A-Walk. The Laval House is home to two Spiritan priests as well as a Spiritan seminarian.

Megan Garrett | Staff Writer

Duquesne’s Laval House, a place of respite for Spiritans, has been anything but calm recently.

That’s because a contractor is in the process of replacing the steps in front of the house, located on A-Walk. The project has been in progress for about two weeks.

Duquesne’s Assistant Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Rod Dobish said they found “structural issues” with the steps — which he believes are the original ones from the building’s construction in the late 19th century.

The Laval House is home to several Spiritans: Rev. Bill Christy, Rev. Dan Walsh and seminarian Matt Broeren. The stair renovations, being completed by the Cheswick, Pennsylvania-based CPS Construction Group, are the final step in a series of construction projects at the Laval House.

Previously, the group remodeled several bathrooms in the building and installed air conditioning.

One of the main issues with the steps is inadequate drainage of rainwater — the water tends to pool at the top of the steps, according to Christy.

As a result of the construction obstructing the front entrance, the residents have been coming through the side door, which is a “minor inconvenience,” Christy said.

The Laval House has been standing for almost as long as Duquesne has existed.

The three-story house was originally two rowhouses, hence the two front doors. The first half was built in 1880, only two years after the founding of Duquesne University.

The second house was built 10 years later by the same man, according to Christy. The house gets its name from a French Roman Catholic Priest, Jacques Desire Laval. At first, it was where Duquesne’s president resided, then it became student housing and was at one point occupied by the football team.

In was not until the 1980s that the Spiritan priests began living in the Laval House.

According to Dobish, the project should be done in about two weeks, and the cost of the job is not currently available.

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