Campus Master Plan

The University of St. Francis continually seeks ways to improve its facilities to foster a learning-centered environment for its students. The USF Board of Trustees, in May 2004, approved a Campus Master Plan dedicated to the following:

  • Quality student experiences
  • Historical integrity
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Community outreach


At the main campus, several beautification projects have been undertaken, and include the addition of a fountain and paver brick walkway on the quadrangle. Many of the bricks have been engraved with messages from the USF community. Bricks may still be purchased by clicking here.

As with all urban universities, parking is a constant challenge. The university is committed to addressing parking in each stage of developing its Campus Master Plan for the main campus.


Main Campus

Marian Hall Renovation

In just 100 days over the summer of 2005, Marian Hall on Taylor Street was renovated to include new bathrooms; study lounges with computers and wireless Internet connection on every floor; a kitchen; laundry facilities on every floor; and computer access in every room.



The University of St. Francis purchased the historic Motherhouse, home to its founders the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, at 520 Plainfield Road in 2004. Built in 1881, the Motherhouse was the first home to the university and has again become a center of campus activity.

The first renovations, completed in fall 2005, created classroom and laboratory space for the Cecily and John Leach College of Nursing, along with conference space and student housing.

In fall 2007, student center spaces and additional student housing opened. The student center space includes a game room, Three Oaks Bistro, the Fireside Lounge and a computer study area. The Three Oaks Bistro, named for the tree that greets visitors at the quad entry to the Motherhouse, is open to the community.

St. Joseph Chapel on the third floor was updated with paint and air conditioning. The chapel was rededicated on Founders’ Day Opening Mass, Sept. 5, 2007. A meditation space for multi-denominational use is located near the chapel along with University Ministry offices.

Though not on campus property, a statue of Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in September 2007, was dedicated at the corner of Wilcox and Taylor Streets and welcomes guests to the main academic building, Tower Hall. The statue was erected in partnership with the City of Joliet.

In 2010, the center wing of the Motherhouse was dedicated to become the “front door” of the university with the opening of a Welcome Center and the President’s Office. The Sala Santa Chiara (St. Clare room) was dedicated in May 2011 to honor of the university’s patron, Saint Clare, and the university’s founders and sponsors, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Future plans include renovation of the remainder of the second floor west wing.


Main Campus Future Plans

Several potential future projects are being studied:

  • Tower Hall North wing dedicated to learning spaces and the South wing to house academic support areas such as faculty offices.
  • The library renovated to function as a learning resource center.
  • A new building to house the Natural and Health Sciences, with conceptual location at the southeast corner of Wilcox and Taylor streets.
  • A new student residential structure, which could contain retail space or office space on the street level.
  • A new field house to provide activity space for students, improved facilities for athletics and community fitness facilities.


Property Acquisition

The university has purchased several neighborhood properties as part of its Campus Master Plan initiative. The University of St Francis is committed to working with property owners in reaching a fair price that reflects market values. While the university may contact property owners to gauge interest in selling, most sales have been initiated by the sellers.

The university pays taxes on properties that are not used to fulfill our educational mission.

The university has no authority regarding the Right of Eminent Domain to acquire land for university use.

Many properties have been taken down for parking or other use. Those that remain may be rented. The university does not rent houses to undergraduate students.

The university is committed to a “good neighbor policy” and has, in conjunction with the City of Joliet and the Cathedral Area Preservation Association (CAPA), established standards for maintaining its residential properties.


Rialto City Center Campus

In 2009, USF partnered with the Rialto Square Theatre and the City of Joliet to move the university’s Art and Design Department to the Rialto in downtown Joliet, creating a distinctive educational experience. The university operates a PACE shuttle bus between the Rialto and main campus.

An 1,800-square-foot gallery, at the corner of Van Buren and Scott streets, will be dedicated to the university arts program. In 2012, the Will County Board awarded a $50,000 grant to assist in renovating the space. The gallery is expected to opened in the spring of 2013.

For more information about the Campus Master Plan, please contact Nancy Pohlman, executive director of University Relations & Advancement, (815) 740-3379;