2014-11-27 / Around Town

Salve Addition Receives Final Approval

By Barry Bridges

A planned addition to Salve Regina University’s O’Hare Academic Center received its final go-ahead from the city when the Newport Zoning Board of Review gave the proposal a swift approval at its monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 24.

No public comments were offered before board members quickly OK’d a variance to lot coverage allowances that was needed for the project to proceed. The matter was before zoning after receiving an endorsement from the Historic District Commission the previous week.

The two-story addition will be located to the southeast of the existing L-shaped O’Hare Center and will create a third wing. Each floor will have approximately 11,500 square feet for a total of 23,000 square feet to accommodate students in business, nursing, and science programs.

The university outlined the need for new space in its filings with the city. “The O’Hare Academic Center contains all of the science laboratories and 50 percent of the classrooms at Salve Regina. Learning environments today differ from those of the mid-1960s when O’Hare was built. Classrooms require more space per student to accommodate not only textbooks but also laptop computers, tablets and other electronic devices. More space is also required when using mobile tables and chairs in order to make the classrooms flexible as needs and pedagogies change. The increasing complexity of science instruction demands more laboratory support space and dedicated research laboratory space is required to support research grants.”

The project will also involve work on the existing building’s exterior, windows, main entrance, and parking lots. “The proposed renovations … will create a contemporary learning environment to better educate and support the needs of future generations of students” the university said.

In a statement, Sister Jane Gerety, Salve Regina president, said "I am pleased that we have received our requested approvals for the expansion and renovation of the O'Hare Academic Center. Salve Regina University will now be able to provide our students with an enhanced academic building that meets high standards of learning and research, creates more opportunities for collaboration and engagement among students, faculty and staff, and blends more appropriately with the existing architecture of the historic landscape viewable from Ochre Point and the

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