May 10, 2012
St. Mary’s University unveiled the results of a $6.1 million preservation project recently completed on historic St. Louis Hall during a rededication ceremony Friday, May 11, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.
The project included improvements in safety, energy efficiency, functionality and appearance. While the 118-year-old building has been renovated numerous times in its storied history, this project sought to both update important systems – including the addition of a modern fire detection, alarm and sprinkler system, as well as new lighting, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems – and return the building to its original condition. For example, the many window-unit air conditioners were removed and the decorative iron railing on the building’s roof, which had been removed decades ago, was replaced, bringing St. Louis Hall’s façade closer to its original appearance. The project was led by general contractor SpawGlass and designed by RVK Architects.
“For more than a century, St. Louis Hall has been a structural landmark for San Antonio, as well as a significant part of the religious and educational landscape of South Texas. It is a symbol of the dedication to faith, service and education held by the Marianist brothers and priests who established St. Mary’s University and built St. Louis Hall,” said Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., St. Mary’s President. “This preservation effort is another step in the ongoing beautification of both the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, and a testament to the history and importance of the Marianists in the development of San Antonio’s Westside.”
The project was completed thanks to numerous contributors, including lead benefactor Bill Greehey (B.B.A. ’60), significant donations from numerous members of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees, and the strong and important support of the Marianists.
St. Louis Hall was added to the U.S. National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and last year the University was recognized by the Texas Historical Commission for its significance as an educational institution.
Other features of the project:
- Wood panel long-leaf pine doors with decorative rosettes at the corners and wood baseboards have been added throughout the building, mirroring those originally in St. Louis Hall
- Archways and decorative wood beams emphasize the original architecture of the building and preserve arched entry windows
- Many offices have been reconfigured to improve functionality and appearance
- All restrooms have been updated
- Beautiful wood benches run along the wall on both the first and second floors
- New front doors have been installed thanks to a generous donation from the Speed family, and
- The front foyer includes wood floors and a new inlaid University seal.