Tag Archives: Kalmanovitz

Secret Spots on Campus That Aren’t So Secret Anymore

Mia Orantia

Staff Writer

     As an urban university, USF is quite small compared to other colleges, but nestled within our 58-acre campus are some hidden spots you usually wouldn’t  find on your way to class…unless you get incredibly lost on your first day and happen to stumble upon these:

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Kalmanovitz Hall Rooftop Sculpture Terrace

From the Renaissance-era church portal from Spain in the amphitheater, to the art that greets you as your enter the building, it comes with no surprise that Kalmanovitz Hall also has a rooftop with an artistic element. Atop K-Hall is a sculpture terrace with a bird’s eye view of campus. The terrace rotates exhibitions, and currently on display is “¡Escultura!” which features work from  The Mexican Museum’s Permanent Collection.

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Koret Deli

It may seem confusing for a gym to have a deli, but it is true—Koret Health and Recreation Center has one that serves filling sandwiches and quick breakfast options. Located in the lounge on the third floor, Koret Deli is a convenient place to grab a bite after a workout. Or maybe you can skip the workout and go straight to the grubbing. What is the freshmen fifteen anyways?

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Del Santo Reading Room (a.k.a Harry Potter Reading Room)

An alternative studying spot to Gleeson Library is the Del Santo Reading Room in the East wing of Lone Mountain’s second floor. The dimly lit space takes you back in time with the old-school wooden furniture, aged bookcases, and a lingering smell of old books, making you feel like you’re in Hogwarts. Many say they’ve heard the Basilisk or have even seen the ghost of a nun in there. I guess that just comes with attending a university more than a century old. 

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USF Community Garden

Next to the education building is USF’s community garden, where students cultivate year-round seasonal vegetables, fruit, and herbs. It’s a great spot to temporarily remove you from the city environment and for you to enjoy the fruits of our community’s labor. Food harvested from the community garden can be enjoyed at the campus farm stand and the free monthly community dinners at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church.

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Lawn by Rossi Wing, next to Lone Mountain

For a panoramic view of USF’s surroundings and the landscapes of San Francisco, the lawn by Rossi Wing is the prime location. When Karl the Fog (@KarlTheFog) isn’t around, you can sit on one of the benches and see the downtown skyline cloaked by the ocean. The most direct sunlight also hits this location, perfect for basking or maybe, just maybe, getting a bit of a tan laying on the green grassy lawn.

History of Artwork in Kalmanovitz Explained

In the past 15 years the USF campus has been gradually receiving aesthetic upgrades. Before the most recent nip and tuck of the University Center, Kalmanovitz Hall had a major heart surgery to the tune of 40 million dollars and reopened in 2008.

Back when all students were commuters and the school size was much smaller, this gem of a building was a functional space with almost no artistic integrity. As the oldest building on main campus it was home to the cafeteria, classrooms and student lounge space, but now serves as offices and classrooms for humanities and social sciences departments.

The scenery on walks to classes or meetings with professors in K-Hall has improved dramatically and the Rev. Tom Lucas, S.J., knows more about it than anyone. His experience as an architecture professor and witness to the renovations since 1995 make him the best source for finding out about the art and other intricacies of Kalmanovitz Hall. The Foghorn was lucky enough to sit down with him as he divulged the history of multiple pieces and of the Kalmanovitz building.

Santa Maria de Ovila Portal

Before even entering Kalmanovitz the average passerby, whether a new student or a longtime professor, is hard pressed not to stop and glance at the Santa Maria de Ovila Portal in the amphitheatre. This work of architectural beauty was made in 1575 and is native to a monastery in central Spain near Madrid where it was the front entrance to the chapel.

William Randolph Hearst treasured it so much that he bought the entire monastery and had it shipped to San Francisco sometime in the 1930s. His plan was to rebuild it as a home for his mother near Mount Shasta in northern California. Hard economic times prevented the project from being completed and eventually all the pieces came to rest at the De Young Museum.

For a while there was talk of erecting it in Golden Gate Park to serve as a museum, but the squatting residences of the park detested the idea. If you look closely, you can still see burn marks on some of the 44 pellets of stone from when they set fire to the crates.

Its final home came to be at the University as a gift from the De Young Museum on the condition it be rebuilt with great care.

Romanesque Portal

(Cass Krughoff/Foghorn)

Another architectural gift from the De Young Museum is the Romanesque Portal, which fits the atrium space exactly. In fact, the design of the atrium was dictated by the portal with special braces built deep into the ground solely to withstand its weight, but also to give it proper significance. This piece was made in northern Italy sometime between the late 12th century and early 13th century. You may never have noticed but two famous biblical figures adorn the top arch: Adam and Eve.

Rev. Lucas said, “It’s appropriate that Adam and Eve are on the top of a piece of artwork that is the center piece of the entire humanities building.”

Figure of an Angel

Directly behind the portal in a glass encasement stands the Figure of an Angel from the Galleons and Globalization exhibit currently in the Thacher Gallery. This painted wooden statue has a history of travel beginning with its journey from Mexico to a mission in Santa Barbara.

Rev. Lucas told the story behind the piece: “The legend goes that it was mounted on a ship traveling rough waters. The crew vowed if they survived they would give the statue to a mission.” It was made in the mid to late 1700s and will be at USF through December.

Historic USF Fireplace

and Tiles

Now for some school spirit. On the right side of the portal in the atrium, there are a few steps down that leads to couches for some quality studying real estate. If you’re like me, you never noticed that the hallway continues back (the direction of the library) and opens into another prime studying space that faces St. Ignatius Church.

As if that weren’t enough of a view, you span the room and find yourself face to face with an enormous fireplace with the University’s Coat of Arms and a ribbon with Latin inscriptions running across the face of it. Oh yes, a fireplace worthy of an old institution and rich with historical value.

According to Rev. Lucas, it was made in either 1926 or 1927 and resided in the “commuter lounge,” the area where students spent time in the old Kalmanovitz building. Because there were no dorms on campus until 1955, this space was essential for student gatherings.

Rev. Lucas translates the ribbon’s Latin inscription; it is a quote from from Virgil’s Aeneid and means “Someday you’ll look back and laugh at all of this.” The University remarkably still has the cast for the fireplace and is considering making another for the lounge on the first floor of the University Center when construction is complete.

More USF treasures lie among the hallways of the main floor behind the atrium. On the walls are tiles with pictures of the University’s early buildings (before it came to reside on Fulton Street), professors and students. There are photos of documents from 1855 as well as pictures of more recent students.

If you look down the left hallway, you will see an opening on the right side of a small room with windows showcasing elements of Kalmanovitz before the remodel. This was the original entrance to the University, which had been bricked up but was reopened in 2008.

The gorgeous dark hardwood table and benches are also part of USF’s history because they were part of the commuter lounge with the fireplace.

Luckily, the furnishings complement the space, because they literally cannot be moved. Their awkwardly large dimensions make it impossible to find a home anywhere else as the construction crew for the University Center found out this past summer. For a brief moment, the table and benches were suggested for the fourth or fifth floor, but the ideas were thrown out when they calculated that even if they blew out two windows and used a crane, it still would not fit. How’s that for some USF history?

Other Notable Art Spaces

in Kalmanovitz

On the second floor the walls are decorated with the works of Eric Hongisto, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Architecture, in the Faculty Gallery.

One floor above is the Alumni Gallery with a few different artists who have graduated from various years from USF.

(Cass Krughoff/Foghorn)

On the fourth floor in the English department there is a mural that spans many walls beginning

with the one directly in front of the elevator. Last but not least is the Sculpture Garden on the rooftop of the third floor. Although there is no exhibit there right now, Rev. Lucas expects it to be filled by the end of next week and it is open during daylight hours.

A great deal of effort has been invested in the beautification of Kalmanovitz Hall and campus in general.

Said Rev. Lucas, “For too long we went for safety and half for comfort. But beauty is part of what a university is about…It is also a way of respecting the students to maximize what we have to make it humane. Some people think beauty is a frill. It is not. It’s what moves us in the world and makes us human.” In true USF fashion, he concluded, “Let beauty transform people’s hearts.”

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New Features on Campus Benefit Students

At the beginning of this school year, we found new features and upgrades around campus that were not around last semester. The features added to USF make campus a pleasant place.  USF is trying to improve campus life at a time when other schools are cutting budgets and increasing tuition do to a poor economic climate. We know there are others not mentioned in our list, but these are the ones that stand out as the best.

1. New Hand Sanitizers

When students walk into the cafeteria, Kalmanovitz Hall, or other areas around campus, they can keep their hands clean with the new automatic hand sanitizing dispensers containing Purell, a trusted brand of hand sanitizer. With the Swine Flu scare, having an easy way to keep  hands clean will help prevent students from passing germs and acquiring illnesses, which is easy to do at a university. Some of the hand sanitizers have run out of Purell or are not working, but the idea is perfect for busy students running around campus on their way to class to feel clean. Washing hands is the best option, the hand sanitizers are a good alternative and can keep campus a cleaner and healthier place.

2. Kalmanovitz Connection to Cowell

When venturing around the on campus maze known as Kalmanovitz Hall, there is now another way to get lost when trying to get the annex. When entering Cowell, there is new flooring and a desk, along with a connection to the K-Hall entrance way.  There you can find an elevator leading to the second floor of Cowell or higher floors of K-Hall. It is confusing when you think you are taking the elevator to the second floor of K-Hall and you end up near the Learning and Writing Center of Cowell,  but it is more convenient for students instead of having to leave K-Hall and walk around to the entrance of Cowell. Also, a lot of students who have classes in K-Hall also have classes in Cowell and vice versa. This allows an easy transition from building to building.

3. War Memorial Gym

At the end of the 2009 Spring Semester, the gym was being completely torn up for a new floor. Now that the construction in War Memorial is almost finished,  there is new flooring with the new graphics. The basketball hoops have been redesigned and are no longer hanging from the upper deck of the gym. They are mobile and can be easily be moved for the Volleyball games so the teams can play without worrying about hitting the hoop. The wooden bleachers in the upper deck have been upgraded to more comfortable and sturdy plastic bleachers, which bare the USF green and gold colors. There is also a new glass barrier wall in front of the bleachers. The only thing that is missing is the old San Francisco city skyline that used to be on the gym’s floor. It was a unique aspect of our gym and it is definitely missed.

4. Café Outtahere

The new Café Outtahere gives students a new on-campus meal choice. The food in the main cafeteria gets old quickly, so it’s nice to have the option to liven up your diet in the middle of the week. However, the smoothies don’t live up to those served by Jamba Juice, which stood in the location previous to Outtahere.  The organic food is a positive aspect for students who want to eat healthier and the hours of Outtahere are great. Students usually complain that the cafeteria closes too early, but they now can go to Outtahere for some late night breakfast. But the food left out, like the pre-made breakfast sandwiches, are sometimes left out too long and taste stale or as if it came out of the microwave. Making the sandwiches made to order would make them a more popular item.

5. Improved Phoenix Above the U.C.

One subtle improvement that was made over the summer was the “be-dazzled” Phoenix, which can be seen in Harney Plaza. Previously,  the Phoenix was not very noticeable. Now its glittery green and gold highlights are hard to miss. After visual arts professor Father Tom Lucas enlisted a group of students to decorate this symbol of hope and rebirth, the Phoenix is now a prominent figure when walking through campus. The green and gold squares add a positive emphasis to an aspect of USF’s architecture that was being overlooked.

Other improvements on campus such as the new quiet areas in the library and new food stations that are offered at certain times in the cafeteria are worthy of an honorable mention, but these five are the ones that stand out and have improved campus life the most. Take advantage of the new aspects that are now on campus. Students at other universities are not getting the same upgrades, and we should appreciate them by maximizing their use.