Renderings are becoming reality all around Villanova’s campus. This fall, the Finneran Pavilion had its grand re-opening after a complete transformation, both inside and out, providing enhanced space for Villanova Basketball and campus gatherings. The Commons, the new residence hall community along Lancaster Avenue, has gone from a skeletal structure to a completed façade, with stonework to match other campus buildings. The pedestrian bridge spanning Lancaster Avenue, which opened in spring 2018, has become a significant campus landmark while Mendel Field is undergoing the final phase of a project to add walkways, terraces and patios in 2019. And since ground was broken for the project earlier this year, the Performing Arts Center at the corner of Lancaster and Ithan avenues has started to take shape.
The new residence halls along Lancaster Avenue—recently named The Commons—will open in time for move-in at the start of the fall 2019 semester. The complex will provide a variety of living options and include apartments, suites and single rooms with 1,135 beds for upperclass students, allowing 85 percent of undergraduates to live on campus. Student-centered amenities in The Commons will include two fitness centers, collaborative workspaces and outdoor courtyards.
A full-service restaurant and grill serving the entire community will open at the corner of Lancaster and Ithan avenues in August 2019. The Refectory, a partnership between Villanova University and Zavino Hospitality Group, will provide a gathering space for students, faculty and staff, alumni, visitors and neighbors, and will serve updated American classics in a sophisticated, family-friendly atmosphere. Parliament Espresso and Coffee Bar, a café serving grab-and-go options, will also open in August adjacent to the restaurant.
Construction began in spring 2018 on the Performing Arts Center. Scheduled to open in 2020, the facility will unite the University’s artistic community under one roof, enriching Villanova’s campus and enhancing opportunities across disciplines. Serving as home to the Villanova Theatre program, as well as other music, performance and dance activities, it will provide a destination where students, faculty, parents, alumni and members of the local community can share their passion for the arts.
The new center will feature state-of-the-art performance spaces, including a 400-seat proscenium-style theater and a Courtyard Theater, classrooms to support education and artistic innovation, a dance studio and costume and scenery shops.
The opening of the new pedestrian bridge was a major milestone this year. The elevated walkway extends from the Villanova Station on SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line to the newly expanded plaza in front of St. Thomas of Villanova Church. The orchard lining the walk has been replanted and the pillar caps that read “Villanova College” have been incorporated into the new design.
The bridge offers more than a safe way for Villanova students, faculty and staff, and visitors to traverse the busy, four-lane road that cuts through campus. It also acts as a connector between the University’s main campus and the new development along Lancaster Avenue.
During summer 2017, the Pavilion was stripped clean of every seat, sign, fixture and floorboard, leaving behind an arena that was empty, yet full of opportunity, as a massive renovation began.
In October 2018, the arena reopened as the Finneran Pavilion, named for William B. Finneran ’63 VSB, whose $22.6 million leadership gift kick-started the $65 million project. Everything inside is new, from the scoreboards overhead to the seats along the sidelines. The facility has earned rave reviews from the Villanova community for its revamped gathering and concessions spaces, enhanced audio-visual technology and new displays honoring the rich history of the Villanova Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs.
In 2011, the University launched an ambitious project to create a vehicle-free, pedestrian-friendly campus core. Over the next three years, driveways were transformed into brick-paved walkways with bluestone borders.
Last summer, attention turned to Mendel Field for the latest phase of the initiative.
By the end of the project in 2019, there will be new patios in front of Old Falvey, John Barry Hall and St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery, and the now-familiar brick pavers will wrap around a reshaped Mendel Field.
Questions and comments are welcomed.
October 2018: See the final transformation of the Finneran Pavilion.
August 2017: See timelapse footage of the pedestrian bridge raising over Lancaster Avenue.