After the Board of Trustees approved the Rome Renewal and Expansion Plan at its October board meeting, the University of Dallas purchased two acres of land adjacent to Due Santi’s current property with a donation from the Stark family.
The land was purchased with the specific intent to construct a sidewalk to provide a safe pathway for students from campus to the Via Appia, thereby foregoing the current route, which requires students to walk on the thoroughfare Via dei Ceraseti.
History professor and Vice President, Dean and Director of the Rome Programs Dr. Peter Hatlie emphasized that the primary goal of this project is to enhance students’ safety; in addition to avoiding the Via dei Ceraseti, plans include the eventual installation of video cameras and bright lights along the path.
Possible uses for the remaining land include expansion of the vineyard and olive grove or the construction of additional faculty housing; however, these plans are subject to funding and approval.
Under the umbrella Rome Renewal and Expansion plan, the university aims to renovate and upgrade Due Santi through a number of projects.
“Our first priorities are adding space to the Mensa and creating a layout that will make service more efficient and the Mensa itself more comfortable and user-friendly,” Hatlie said.
The construction is scheduled to be completed by summer 2018. While designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, the construction requires partitioning the Mensa patio, the soccer pitch and 15 rows of the vineyard, in addition to the green space near the pergola.
Areas for construction have already been taped off.
Current sophomore Fall Romer Michelle Carlson has mixed feelings regarding the expansion.
“On one hand, it’s frustrating for us because our outlet to release physical energy is greatly reduced with the loss of much of the open green space, which is especially disappointing since we’re getting the chance to expend mental and spiritual energy,” Carlson said. “But, on the other hand, it’s also growing colder, and I’m excited for the future Rome classes to have an even better experience than we’ve been having.”
Rome Coordinators Anna Hotard, Rachel Parkey and Stephen Henderson do not anticipate that the changes to the campus will immediately affect their duties.
Rather, Hotard and Parkey say, the most dramatic reform will be the potential increase in staff as a larger student body fills the campus’ new capacity.
More information regarding the Rome Expansion and Renewal Project can be found on the university’s website.