Kevin Mueller, MBA
Senior Director of Construction and Planning
At the corner of Cardinal and City Avenue, Sister Thea Bowman Hall, a new first-year residence, will welcome more than 500 students in the fall of 2025. The exteriors will reflect the familiar stone masonry of our buildings here on campus, in keeping with the architecture in this area of campus. Sister Thea Bowman Hall is named in honor of the late educator, evangelist and social justice advocate who is a candidate for sainthood.
Sister Thea Bowman Hall is specifically positioned to take advantage of the serene landscape and mature trees available in front of the Maguire-Wolfington Welcome Center, creating a small quad for students to enjoy just out their back door.
This new residence hall will have easy access to the Campion quad and the new pedestrian underpass, Post Crossing, providing safe passage under City Avenue from West Philadelphia to the Lower Merion side of campus. This project is a cornerstone for the overall development towards a new Student Center and main campus quad.
This new residence hall will have flexible indoor and outdoor lounge space for gathering, collaboration, and recreation.
The proposed construction schedule for the new residence hall:
Subsurface Blasting is scheduled to start on Wednesday, 02/14/24 at 2:00 PM
All cars parked along Cardinal Avenue need to be relocated by Tuesday morning 02/13/24, 6:00 AM. Cars without an SJU parking pass will be relocated at no cost to neighboring streets. Cars with an SJU parking pass will be relocated at no cost to the parking lot behind the Morris Quad Townhouses. A list of the cars relocated will be provided to the Public Safety guard at Cardinal Ave. Please contact Kevin Mueller, at 610-660-3022, or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Due to the nature of the rock underlying the land that will soon be Sr. Thea Bowman Hall, it has been determined that the next phase of construction on our new residence hall will require subsurface blasting, a construction technique requiring the use of explosive materials.
The blasting process is instead determined to take only four to six weeks, beginning in Feb. 2024. Please reference the below FAQ for further information.
What is subsurface blasting?
Subsurface blasting is a construction technique where holes ranging from two to four inches are drilled down into hard in-ground rock masses. The holes are filled with an explosive and detonated to loosen and fragment the material to a size that can be removed and transported offsite.
When will subsurface blasting occur?
Subsurface blasting will occur Monday through Friday at roughly 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for up to six weeks.
How will I know when subsurface blasting is taking place?
Five minutes before each detonation, three air horns will sound.
One minute before each detonation, two air horns will sound.
After the subsurface blast, a five second air horn will sound indicating that the blasting operation has concluded.
What should I expect when subsurface blasting occurs?
The “blast zone” is considered anything within 50 feet of a detonation. Prior to subsurface blasting, the blast zone will be cleared of all personnel.
A caution area around the 5800 block of City Avenue (City Ave., Cardinal Ave. and Overbrook Ave.) will include additional safety personnel to notify pedestrians of the upcoming subsurface blasting operation. One minute prior to subsurface blasting, all pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the caution area will be fully stopped.
Community members should expect an increased police presence surrounding the construction site. Explosives will be escorted to the construction site via the Philadelphia Police Department and The Philadelphia Bomb Disposal Unit will be onsite the entire time explosives are on SJU’s campus. Signage will be placed to notify the community of the subsurface blasting operations.
Is this work regulated?
Subsurface blasting operations are being permitted through the City of Philadelphia and are required to be in compliance with OSHA, Bureau of ATF, City of Philadelphia and PA state regulations.
What are the expected noise and vibration considerations?
An independent vibration monitoring firm, Dayton, will provide ground vibration and air blast monitoring services to record that the subsurface blasting was performed within the permissible thresholds.
Will SJU and non-SJU properties be impacted?
Based on guidance from the independent vibration monitoring firm Dayton, our understanding is that no properties will be impacted other than SJU’s Maguire Wolfington Welcome Center (MWWC).
Monday through Friday at roughly 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, all pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be stopped on City Ave (Berwick Rd to McShain Dr), Cardinal Ave, and Overbrook Ave (58th St to Cardinal Ave) due to the scheduled subsurface blasting. Please reference the FAQ above.
Senior Director of Construction and Planning
Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations
Additional Project Team Members