Mary Liz Flavin | Staff Writer
St. Martin Residence Hall will be undergoing renovation beginning in May of this year. Since the 1960s, St. Martin has been a residence hall for the students of Duquesne.
With the building in need of an update, Duquesne has partnered with the Radnor Property Group as well as the Harrison Street investment management firm to accomplish this task.
Currently, Martin’s holds 485 residents — the majority of them being freshmen, with 20 of them being upper-class students. Chloe Brendle, a sophomore at Duquesne University, reflected on her time living in Martin’s her freshman year.
“It was OK. I was on the highest floor, so it was kinda sad I didn’t have an elevator to go all the way up there. I had to climb down the one flight of stairs and then hop on the elevator,” Brendle said.
Brendle is under the opinion that Martin’s was not the ideal place to live. In addition to the elevator issue, Brendle says that the bathroom situation wasn’t good either; there were dim lights in the showers and “you kinda just sat there.” Thankfully with the new renovation, all of these problem solved.
With the update, Martin’s will be able to hold 536 students, 323 of those being upper-year and graduate students. The rooms will be molded into mostly single occupancy suite-style units with a few double occupancy rooms as well. Each room will contain a refrigerator, small cooktop, microwave, bed, desk and an adjoining bathroom connecting two units together.
Duquesne’s partnership with the Radnor Property Group began in mid- to late 2017 when the request for the proposal of Brottier Hall was put in place. Once the construction of Brottier was finished, the proposal for Martin’s renovation was next on the table.
Tim Gigliotti, managing director for the Radnor Property Group, shared more about the renovation process and what Duquesne can anticipate from it.
“If you look at the suite-style arrangement offered at Vickroy and Des Places, they are very nice suites. Then you look at the jump from those to traditional apartments and Brottier — there’s sort of a step missing in between. St. Martin’s seeks to fill that void,” Gigliotti said.
The Radnor Group is taking a whole new approach to the traditional dormitory-style living. The majority of the rooms will be single suite-style living with a connecting bathroom. This eliminates the communal bathroom entirely. But that begs the question: What do we do with those spaces now that they have no use? Each of those areas on every floor will be converted to either a kitchen, a study area or a gaming lounge.
“We would like to encourage people to cross collaborate among the different floors. We want to encourage people to go up and down the building,” Gigliotti said.
According to Gigliotti, each designated area will go in order of kitchen, study and gaming lounge by floor as you work your way up the building. The idea behind this is to bring together residents by placing different community-style living areas on every floor. Each area will have its own unique set up; for example, no two gaming areas will be alike. One may have a pool table while the other has skeeball, which allows for a greater variation.
Originally the renovation was supposed to start last summer, but due to COVID-19, the project was postponed for a year. Now with COVID looking better than it has in the past, renovation will commence in May.
Martins will be closed for one academic school year and will open in the fall of 2022. Gigliotti says that the construction should not interfere with the normal day-to-day routine of students during the school year. The majority of the “loud work” will take place over the summer break. In addition, the sidewalks around the building will be open and will not interfere with the daily workings of Assumption Hall or Towers.
Joshua Branker, a sophomore and current RA at Martin’s, is excited to hear about the renovation at Martins and can’t wait to see how things turn out.
“I would say that sounds amazing; it’s the type of things that we need for our building. I’m very excited and would like to go there one day. Sign me up,” Branker said.