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10/12/2007
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Bishop's Annual Appeal aids ministry to young adults
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New residence hall, courtyard dedicated at Avila University
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New residence hall, courtyard dedicated at Avila University
By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter

1012_Avila.jpg
Marty Denzer/Key photo
Avila University's Jeanne Collins Thompson Hall houses 65 students and staff in four-bedroom suites. The new residence hall was blessed on Oct. 5.
KANSAS CITY - One year ago, ground was broken in a ceremony at Avila University for a new student residence hall and courtyard. "Look at what a difference a year has made," said university president Ron Slepitsa at the Oct. 5 dedication and blessing of the Jeanne Collins Thompson residence Hall and McCullough Family Courtyard.

The residence hall, named in honor of the late Jeanne Collins Thompson, Avila class of 1954, is the first new building on the university's south Kansas City campus in more than 25 years. It houses about 65 students and staff in 16 four-bedroom suites. Each suite features two baths, kitchen and a common living room. There is also a full kitchen and computer cafe on the first floor. The south windows overlook the playing fields, and the front looks out over classroom buildings.

Students, university officials, and civic leaders gathered in the McCullough Family Courtyard as Msgr. Robert Murphy, vicar general of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, blessed the new residence hall and the courtyard.

The circular brick courtyard is named in honor of the family of Thomas McCullough, chief operations officer at DST systems and a longtime supporter of Avila University.

The courtyard bears the shape of the Avila seal of three interlocking circles, and in the center is a fire pit for students to use at gatherings. Fixed bench seating, inset lighting and landscaping line the perimeter wall of the courtyard.

Avila now has three residence halls for the approximately 325 students living on campus. The two older buildings are in the process of being remodeled and by fall 2008, both will be updated with some of the features of the new residence hall, such as a more open floor plan.

Plans are being drawn up for an observation deck just north of the playing fields, which are expected to be completed for the 2008 fall soccer season. Construction on a redesigned front plaza and entrance to the main administration building, Blasco Hall, is scheduled to begin in the spring.

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