Campus Master Plan Brings Change for the Good

One of the most common first impressions we hear about St. Edward’s from students, faculty, staff and visitors is their love of our campus. This intrinsic connection to our hilltop home goes beyond our verdant location overlooking Austin’s city skyline. It’s inspired by a thoughtful blend of historic and contemporary buildings, majestic trees and open green spaces, tranquil gardens and fountains, abundant walking and biking paths, and comfortable gathering areas — all creating an atmosphere instilled with a sense of learning, community and place.  

These defining qualities of the hilltop have been led by an ambitious campus master plan that guides us in preserving the beauty, character and sustainability of our urban campus. From 2001 to 2015, we accomplished more than 15 large-scale projects with significant success, including the addition of five residence halls, a dining hall, three academic buildings, a state-of-the-art library, four outdoor plazas and the planting of more than 1,000 trees. Sustainable renovations to five older buildings were completed as well.

The following years have brought another phase of activity. Renovations to two historic campus landmarks, Main Building and Holy Cross Hall, began in 2016 and were completed in 2017. The work included repairs to the roofing, windows, heating and cooling systems, limestone façade and towers for both buildings, and major renovations to the interior of Holy Cross Hall.

Important campus support services, such as the University Police Department and postal services, are now under one roof in a new operations building, which opened in 2017. And St. André Apartments, a 133-unit apartment complex located in the heart of campus, broke ground in 2016 and opened in Fall 2018. The complex provides housing for nearly 450 upperclassman students.

Photo Gallery

Partnership and Purpose: Campus Master Plan

In 2017, St. Edward’s unveiled a new phase of updates to our master plan that are steering the growth and evolution of the university over the coming decades. For this transformative building and landscape project, St. Edward’s continues its partnership with Sasaki Associates, who worked with us to design and execute the original plan in 1999.

The purpose of our campus master plan is twofold. First, it outlines the types and number of new facilities required to support the university’s planned growth in undergraduate enrollment. Second, it provides direction to the orderly development of our physical campus.

Master Plan Themes

Defined by the following four planning themes, the master plan establishes a structure for investment in campus land and facilities that reflects the academic mission, history and traditions of St. Edward’s.

1. Foster an inclusive community.

Community ― and the St. Edward’s educational experience ― begins with engagement. The master plan ensures that indoor and outdoor spaces throughout campus help build community by encouraging diverse interactions and connections between students, faculty and staff.  

2. Integrate stewardship into the campus plan.

Sustainability is a fundamental value held by St. Edward’s. The master plan takes a comprehensive approach to the physical environment, engaging mindful and strategic stewardship as a guide in harnessing the potential of all campus resources, both natural and built.

3. Express wellness throughout the physical environment.

Comprehensive holistic well-being is a crucial component in the overall life of the St. Edward’s community. The master plan balances the needs of athletics and recreation with the concept that every place and space on campus contributes to the community’s awareness and practice of wellness.

4. Expand the university’s tradition of places and landscapes for people.

The high standard of design excellence seen across the St. Edward’s campus speaks to the values and heart of the university. The master plan continues to create buildings and landscapes that foster strong bonds between people and place, and that reflect our relationship to the world around us.

$311 million has been invested in campus facilities and technology since 1999.

Launching the Next Phase

Recreation and Athletic Center: Opened January 2020

The New Recreation and Athletics Center

The Recreation and Athletic Center (RAC) expansion and renovation was the first key undertaking of the next phase of the plan, with an impact on recreation and holistic well-being for the entire campus community. Groundbreaking for the expansion took place in 2018. The RAC (formerly named the Recreation and Convocation Center ) opened in January 2020.

The RAC provides much-needed fitness space and support facilities. Students, faculty and staff will enjoy a spacious, contemporary fitness center featuring modern workout stations and equipment, and a wellness center with a lounge, seminar room and offices.

The Recreation and Athletics Center includes fitness center features cutting-edge workout stations and equipment.
Recreation and Athletic Center fitness room with treadmills and spin cycles

A contemporary two-story addition to the east facade of the RAC includes a second floor yoga and exercise studio surrounded by glass walls. This dramatic, all-glass structure — grounded by the solid brick base of the first floor — appears transparent during the day and luminous at night. An open brick armature extends east from the new first floor building and forms the southern wall of a courtyard, which will be fully realized in subsequent phases of the master plan.

The two-story structure and armature also creates an inviting and attractive entryway to the RAC and enhances the view corridor along André Drive as visitors enter the campus. A plaza with outdoor seating leads to the building’s entrance. Its design supports pedestrian activity and provides open gathering spaces in the campus core. Native landscaping includes indigenous plants and trees, and a lawn that can host small gatherings.

More Campus Improvements Were Completed in 2018–2019 

These recent enhancements are shown in the Photo Gallery on this webpage.

  • Renovations to the interior of Main Building provided new offices for the Admission staff and a spacious new Welcome Center for interacting with campus visitors.
  • A 24-hour convenience store, the Grab & Goat, opened in the St. André Apartments complex, giving students quick access to snacks, beverages, sundry items, an ATM and ready-to-go meals.
  • The Athletics department’s new e-Sports program facility opened in Ragsdale Center, featuring 20 computer stations for video gaming competitions.
  • A beautiful green space in the heart of campus replaced the former site of André Hall.
  • In honor of the legacy of the Holy Cross Brothers and their contributions to the university, the Brothers of Holy Cross Garden was installed as an oasis for prayer and reflection.  

Our Growth is Strategic

As St. Edward’s thrives and consistently gains national recognition, the university’s administration will continue to devote its best thinking toward the future of our campus. Our leadership has established a proactive, strategic and deliberate approach to growth, all aimed at meeting the ongoing needs and challenges of the university’s physical spaces. For our vibrant community, this means better learning, living, teaching and working on the hilltop.

Check on Our Progress

Visit this webpage in the upcoming months to follow the progress on our campus improvements. We’ll share photos and updates to keep you informed.


Our Master Plan Accomplishments

Since 2001, our campus master plan has guided us in transforming the hilltop to enhance community and support student success.
View photos of our progress.