Construction of Caruso Hall nears completion

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Looking Southeast onto Venice Boulevard, Caruso Hall employs considerably more nuanced architectural structure.
(Jackson Kruse / The Loyalist)

The construction of Caruso Hall, formerly known as Xavier Hall, and of Hayden Circle, also known as Circle Drive, has been underway since 2019. The massive project, which has been a year in the making, is on schedule to be finished in 2021.

Caruso Hall will function the same way Xavier did, but it will look very different from its predecessor. While Xavier had only one small kitchen used by Z-licious, Caruso Hall has two large kitchens, one to work large events and one for Z-licious operations. The new main hall is also much larger, so more people can fit indoors without being cramped. Another lecture hall, more offices, and larger bathrooms were also installed.

Rev. Gregory M. Goethals, SJ, ‘73, President of Loyola, commented, “Hopefully, Caruso will be a hundred-year building just like Loyola Hall, and it will serve the school much better in this age of technology.”

The new technology is related to lighting, wiring and sound, and it will be much different to the comparatively ancient Xavier Hall. Caruso Hall also has another feature that allows the main auditorium can be divided into three parts thanks to moving wall partition, and each side will have its own audio systems. Splitting the hall will allow Loyola to have up to three events at once.

Principal Frank Kozakowski said, “Caruso’s total flexibility, to be able to divide the space, is extremely helpful. In Xavier we had events we crammed in and sometimes couldn’t do some events because of the lack of space. In the long run, it allows us to put on events more efficiently and to raise more money with these events.”

The construction was expensive, but putting on more events allows Loyola to have opportunities to raise more money. Also, building the two new kitchens, one of which is dedicated to catering events, solves the cost of temporary kitchens built outside of the Hall. 

Looking East out onto Hernandez Field, the location of the loading docks is gone: Caruso Hall extends all the way across that space, leaving only a walkway between it and Pinney Hall. (Jackson Kruse / The Loyalist)

Kozakowski stated, “Whenever we had the auction or the prom, it was a real inconvenience and a big expense to bring in a kitchen. So, we wanted to make sure we could accommodate for large events, but also for small events like luncheons and sports banquets.”

Along with the construction of Caruso Hall, Hayden Circle is being revitalized. Loyola is building Circle Drive with a wider design, front gates, a small shack for a security guard and rising bollards. Sadly, the famous palm trees were taken out and will not be replanted.

Fr. Goethals said, “Half of the palm trees were dead, many of them were diseased, and there were rats that were living in them. We decided it was best to start over and landscape for a modern time and a modern look.”

The guard shack, bollards, and tall front gates are essential additions because they further secure the school. There is no immediate threat to Loyola, but entering campus without checking in with the guard is now very difficult. The new Hayden Circle will be much more accessible to service vehicles and more secure, but also it will be just as beautiful.

Fr. Goethals ‘73 said, “We wanted the front drive to be secure, but we also didn’t want it to look like a prison. The way the landscaping is coming, it is going to be beautiful. It’s also been a hundred years, so it’s time for a fresh start.”

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