After being in the discussion stage for 15 years and the strategic planning stage since 2014, Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) was thrilled to cut the ribbon on its very first dormitory on Friday, September 9. Once the dorm’s 63 beds open to students after construction officially concludes, the traditionally commuter-only student population of 700 will now have its first on-campus housing option.
“It provides just life on campus or for evenings and weekends,” said CCSJ President Amy McCormack. “We have a lot of student-athletes, and so it’s great to be able to have an on-campus housing option. Students will be here and be able to walk across campus and support our athletes. Student leaders for clubs and organizations will easily be able to use the library. I think it will add a whole new campus life experience that we haven't had before.”
Although the campus housing has been in discussion for 15 years, the actual building process took only 10 months to complete. McCormack credits the collaboration between CCSJ leaders, University Housing Solutions, Hasse Construction Co., Inc., and all other project partners for making the ambitious construction timeline a reality.
“Kudos to the chair, the board, and Amy because they've done a great job with this,” said City of Hammond 1st District Councilman Mark Kalwinski. “I'm hoping in that two or three years we’ll be here putting shovels into the ground for the next building. I think it's possible because this one will be filled very quickly.”
With great existing athletics such as bowling and new athletics such as sprint football bringing in more students, Kalwinski believes that this dorm building provides a space that will enrich campus life and allow further opportunities for growth.
“If you're offering more opportunities that you didn't have in the past, it's going to add to growth in the entire city, which is important to us,” said City of Hammond Chief of Staff Phil Taillon. “We want to see more people eating in restaurants and more people using our trail system. It's very exciting, and from my perspective, it's a signal that Hammond and CCSJ continue to keep moving forward.”
Rev. Timothy McFarland, C.PP.S from The Missionaries of the Precious Blood prayed over the building and recited scripture before blessing the new dorm building and all that it will bring to CCSJ in the future. After the blessing, McCormack cut the ribbon and CCSJ Class of ‘98 Alumna Vicki Znavor provided closing remarks before inviting attendees to a tour of the building.
“My husband Tom and I met at this campus over 40 years ago. Back then, it was truly a distant dream to see the addition of residential housing. Today, that dream is a reality,” Znavor said. “You see, Calumet College of St. Joseph has a way of making dreams come true. Some dreams take longer to achieve than others and often take a lot of hard work and support. As alumni, we couldn't be more proud or honored to be here today. We look forward to sharing many more dreams with all of you in the future.”
For more information about Calumet College of St. Joseph, visit https://www.ccsj.edu/.