Carlow announces plans for major new construction

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Carlow University today announced plans for a new Institute for Women’s Leadership and Empowerment and detailed preparations for the school’s first major construction in more than a decade -- the $15.7 million University Commons project.

The information was released as the school prepared to install Suzanne Mellon as its 10th president during a ceremony in the Rosemary Heyl Theatre in Antonian Hall, located on Carlow’s Oakland campus.

“There is a strong need to address the social and health disparities of women and the role that women’s leadership and voice can have for our community and the world,” Ms. Mellon said in remarks prepared for delivery at today’s event. “This Institute will increase the capacity of women to become skilled change agents and social entrepreneurs within communities regional to global.”

The institute will be developed based on the social justice mission of the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s founding order, officials said. The center, whose staff will support educational and community outreach endeavors, is expected to be operational starting in the fall.

The University Commons project is a renovation and transformation of the 82,500-square-foot Grace Library Building into what officials say will be the center of campus life and learning.

Housed there will be faculty and student services as well as classrooms and a range of operations from the Office of Student Affairs and the campus ministry to the library, which will require less physical space due to ongoing digitization of many holdings, officials said. Amenities will include computer labs, a cafe and study spaces.

The university plans to begin construction in August and hopes to open the facility in August 2015.

Carlow, founded as a women’s institution in 1929, has 2,300 students and is now coed, with males accounting for nine percent of its undergraduates and 14 percent of its graduate students. Last month, it announced plans to add an intercollegiate men’s basketball team.

Bill Schackner:, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG.

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