New University Center set for fall opening

St. John’s can expect a fall opening for the new University Center/Academic Center, according to school officials.

Brij Anand, vice president of facilities, said construction on the five-story building located next to Sullivan Hall is “close to 90 percent” finished and work on the structure should be complete in late September.

“Right now, the minor details are being done,” he said. “Mainly interior work like putting down carpet and moving in furniture,” he said.

The new structure, estimated to cost more than $70 million, will host an additional 14 classrooms, a central lounge area for students, a Starbucks house café, an entertainment lounge, new offices for student organizations and a dining hall.

In May, the St. John’s Board of Trustees voted to name the building the D’Angelo Center after St. John’s alumni Peter and Peg D’Angelo.

Darren Morton, assistant vice president for student affairs, said a “soft opening” for the building is being planned for Sept.15.
During this time, the center will be opened for tours and some sections of the building may not be operational, he said.

Morton also said student organizations will move into their new offices during the week of Sept. 24.

“I think right now is an exciting time,” Morton said. “The center is going to open early enough for everyone to fully reap the benefits of the facility and this is also a great opportunity for students and faculty to enhance engagement with one another.”

Anand said that although the construction of the D’Angelo Center has been “very complex,” the building process has yet to run into major problems.

“We are very hopeful that we can move [the] organizations into the building in early October or even sooner,” he said.

In addition to the construction of the D’Angelo Center, the area between the building and Sun Yet Sen Hall has been fenced off for the creation of a new grove.

Anand said phase one of the project, which includes repaving and landscaping, should be completed by the end of September and additional work is scheduled for a later date.

In a March interview with the Torch, Anand said the goal of the additional construction project is to have that area “look as appealing and inviting and green as the Great Lawn.”