St. Paul Seminary O’Connor Hall

St. Paul Seminary O’Connor Hall

O’Connor Hall, on the campus of the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s St. Paul Seminary, had been built and used as an orphanage. The 21,000 square foot facility had a gymnasium, pool, and auditorium, but the outdated building was underutilized once the orphanage use ceased. Bishop David Zubik was in search of a facility that could be used to host larger events, as the Diocese was at that time spending resources to rent external spaces. Hayes Design Group Architects was retained to first conduct a feasibility study to evaluate if O’Connor Hall would be suitable for a banquet facility. The feasibility study showed that the swimming pool area provided the best opportunity for a large assembly space.

Contracted for design & construction, HDG brought Bishop Zubik’s revision to reality by converting the 1st floor aquatic facility into a large banquet room that accommodates seating for up to 250 persons. The banquet hall, known as Cardinals Great Hall, can be divided into two large meeting rooms by means of a full-height folding panel wall. The design integrated the reuse of old stained glass windows taken from a closed Catholic church into the full-length glass wall on the south side of the banquet hall. A full catering-style kitchen was provided along with upscale hospitality-type restrooms and several meeting rooms. In a second phase of work, the existing 500 seat auditorium was updated with new seating, wall finishes, floor finishes, lighting, and acoustical treatment. Other renovations included replacement of HVAC, electrical, and fire protection systems. Exterior improvements included glazing replacement, masonry restoration, and roof replacement. The project has proved to be enormously successful, with the Cardinals Great Hall booked and used solidly throughout the year.

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