by Tim Ziman
On Friday, September 25, the main campus at Lisle was able to finally experience the new quad as well as the new business building, as the barriers was finally removed allowing students to roam at will. With the barriers taken down students were also introduced to the new and greatly improved Coal Ben restaurant.
Originally built in 1901 the Coal Ben was originally called the Coal Bin and was the original powerhouse which supplied coal fueled power to the school. It was rebuilt in 1926 and took on its new form as a separate building no longer connected to Ben Hall.
The main boiler room was located in the basement of the Coal Ben which is still there today along with its original flooring. In April 1932 there was a campus wide power outage caused by a minor explosion in the boiling room, however this meant that there was no printing of the yearbook for that year.
Also in 1932 some students became stuck in the boiler room after getting lost in the labyrinth of tunnels which ran under the original campus. Luckily they were rescued.
Between 1932 and 2007 the Coal Ben was one of the few buildings that had survived the campus reshaping. However a decision was made in 2007 to convert the Coal Ben into a restaurant, with its original flooring still intact, which can be seen today.
The Coal Ben shut down briefly at the start of the semester as it was given another well deserved makeover. The makeover includes a new covered seating area connected to the quad, stairs instead of a walk way to limit accidents in winter as well as better wheelchair access at the back of the restaurant.
“Benedictine made Coal Ben a lot more visitor friendly,” said senior Maris Cicero. “They put in a wheelchair ramp in the back, so that’s nice.”
Along with the assistance of student workers, volunteers and the student senate, Student Life welcomed the new and improved iconic Coal Ben with a wild opening celebration on Friday. There was bingo, trivia, ice cream, popcorn and many other games and festivities held just outside the Coal Ben. The quad was alive with a crowd of students, faculty and staff.
Additionally the new Quad was unveiled for the first time to the students, staff and faculty. The construction of the quad was done throughout the summer months and partially into the beginning of the fall semester.
“I enjoy the new paths and I find our university looks very modern, which I love, and the new building itself is amazing after getting a sneak peak at the open house this weekend,” said senior Taylor Mikutis.
The new Quad is much larger and is designed as a spacious open plan, green environment creating a large open space for events, or just to sit on the grass and relax.
One important feature added to the new quad is the paths. By redoing the current paths and adding more, it allows students to get from building to building faster.
New light poles were added to the walkways to add the needed light to the quad at night. Additionally, to the new paths, many new plants and bushes have been placed around the Quad. The campus now looks and feels much bigger.
It was great to see the campus come alive at the re-opening of the Coal Ben as well as being able to finally explore the Quad which had been roped off since the start of the semester. The weekend’s festivities continued with Club Ben ending Saturday night with a black light party and games.
“It was a great opportunity for our Benedictine community to come together to celebrate the grand reopening of the Coal Ben and the reconstruction of the quad,” said junior Kylie Hicks.
Since its re-opening on Friday, students, faculty and staff are eager to enjoy the new changes to the campus.