Machebeuf Hall on Loretto Heights Campus to Become Commún Community Center
Published by Westword on January 27, 2023
When the Colorado Symphony hosted a community concert at the May Bonfils Stanton Theater at Loretto Heights in 2018, Margaret Brugger walked up to Mark Witkiewicz and told him point-blank that she wanted to build a community center on the historic campus, which had a long, storied past starting in 1864 as a boarding school for girls, followed by incarnations as various colleges, a high school, a nursing school and a military training ground.
The May Bonfils Stanton Theater is going to belong to the City of Denver, and one of the first projects to open on the campus is the Pancratia Hall Lofts, which provides 74 affordable-housing units.
Sister Lydia Peña, the last Sister of Loretto who taught at Loretto Heights College and remained in Denver, says that while she can’t speak for everyone, she thinks most of the Sisters of Loretto are happy that the campus will be used for affordable housing.
Peña, who went on to work at Regis University for nineteen years after Loretto Heights College closed, attended Loretto Heights College starting in 1951, the first year that Machebeuf Hall was open to students after being built the year prior.
“We had a Christmas banquet, and it was beautiful,” she says. “I remember wearing formals and long gloves. These were the ’50s. We were delighted to have a dining hall that was so beautiful. I was delighted. The other students were delighted, and faculty. Everybody was happy about that, and now I am delighted that Margaret Brugger is converting Machebeuf Hall into Commún, into a community center.”
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