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Gwynedd Mercy University celebrated the completion of its Loop Road Project with an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on October 3. State Senator Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd; State Representative Liz Hanbidge, D-62nd District; and State Representative Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery were on hand for the ceremony. Members of the Lower Gwynedd Township Board of Supervisors — including Dr. J. Richard Booth, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and Mark Grey — as well as local civic leaders, project leaders, the University’s Board of Trustees, President’s Council, were also in attendance.
The Loop Road Project is a part of the University’s “Pathways to Success” initiative, launched to promote multimodal transportation and increase safety on campus. The University was awarded a $1 million grant through the Commonwealth Finance Authority’s Multimodal Transportation Fund to complete the project.
The new Loop Road and walkway now connects GMercyU’s Admissions House and Alexandria Hall, one of the University’s four residence halls. In addition, a new pedestrian walkway was added along the campus’ Assumption Drive, providing a quick and safe walkway to and from the Admissions House, the Hobbit House (a local preschool), and the campus core. The project also included the closing of a section of Assumption Drive to vehicle traffic and transforming it into a grassy oasis for students, faculty, staff and visitors to enjoy. A new rain garden between Assumption Hall and Connelly Faculty Center now efficiently drains rainwater into nearby soil.
“As we celebrate these improvements to the campus we also celebrate all that the University contributes to us and our community,” said Senator Maria Collett. “Your graduates enter our workforces well-trained, compassionate, contributing members of our society and the Commonwealth. Your quality educational offerings, your attractive campus, and your strong core values attract students of all ages to this district. Gwynedd Mercy University is a key part of what makes this a wonderful place to live, work, and play, and I’m confident that you will continue to thrive. I’m proud to be a supporter.”
The morning’s rain didn’t put a damper on the ceremony, as noted by State Representative Liz Hanbidge. “The last time I visited, it was a construction site,” she said. “Yet as I walked up today, it was a little bit misty and a little rainy, and the campus was so ethereal, like a secret garden. Many people have helped the University get this far, especially Representative Harper and the Lower Gwynedd Board of Supervisors, and I look forward to continuing to join hands and watch the University progress.”
Former State Representative Kate Harper, who is a member of GMercyU’s President’s Council and longtime supporter of the University, also spoke. “With more than 2800 students and a large number of faculty, administrators, and other staff, Gwynedd Mercy University is the largest employer in Lower Gwynedd Township,” she said. “It’s important that the community recognize the importance of this university and this project, with the new Loop Road going behind the residence halls and making the campus more pedestrian friendly while also providing access to emergency vehicles.”
A reception followed a blessing and the official opening, with ribbon cutting, of the new pedestrian-friendly campus core and walkways that connect with the Loop Road. President’s Council member Jay Haenn of Lansdale Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat had cars and trucks on hand to provide tours of the new road.
“We also must recognize our Gwynedd Mercy University team who made this project run as smoothly as possible. Our plant services, campus security, and our Vice President for Finance and Administration, Kevin O’Flaherty for his management of the entire project,” said GMercyU President Deanne D’Emilio, JD.
Derek & Edson Associates served as the landscape architects and engineers of this project alongside Land-Tech Enterprises, Inc. who were responsible for the construction.