Expanding post-pandemic learning spaces and opportunities: Vatican approves Xavier Ateneo ‘Campus of the Future’ project

The Vatican has finally given its seal of approval for the “Campus of the Future” project of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, expanding the school’s post-pandemic learning spaces and opportunities.

“The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, having attentively examined the documents submitted, grants the request in conformity with the petition,” reads the Letter of Approval from the Vatican.

After series of stakeholder consultations, dialogues, and weighing in of pros and cons, the Father Provincial of the Jesuits endorsed the plan to the Superior General of the Jesuits in Rome, whom after careful review and discernment with his counselors, endorsed the plan to the Vatican for its approval. The long wait for the final decision only showed the amount of time devoted by the Church authorities to review and study the project. 

“This is good news for those who truly value education and the formation of our young people and I am excited and happy because this will fulfill Xavier Ateneo’s dream to give the best Jesuit education possible in the region and in Mindanao,” shares XU President Fr Mars P Tan SJ.

“First-class education needs first-class building and campus design,” Fr Tan adds. 

The new campus features state-of-the-art school buildings and administration facilities to cater to the academic courses of XU’s colleges and schools. It will be adaptable to developments in academic disciplines, 21st-century learning curriculum, and technological innovations.

The Masterson Campus

The main masterplan elements include an abundance of open and green spaces – the main plaza, interconnected courtyards, campus-wide wireless connectivity, bike lanes, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and a University Forum which incorporates a museum, theatre, and a gallery.

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The project will be constructed in phases and campus development is expected to start in the second quarter of 2022, in line with the present COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and protocols.

The proposal is to name it the “Masterson Campus” honoring the great visionary Jesuit Fr William Masterson SJ who foresaw the potential of Manresa in the 1960s. This new campus is fit for the new normal as it provides innovative and smart components for synchronous and asynchronous learning, pioneering research, artistic expression, and whole-person formation.

The Masterson Campus  will be constructed on a 21-hectare land in Manresa, adjacent to the 14.3-hectare township to be known as “Manresa Town.” The 25-hectare forest reserve and animal sanctuaries will be retained in the uptown property.

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The Manresa Town will be integrated as a complementary to the Masterson Campus to provide students with generous open spaces, convenient and safe residential options, easy access to commercial establishments, and future-ready offices.

XU’s Centennial Celebration

The College of Agriculture facilities (e.g. demonstration farms, workshops, and field laboratories, among others) presently located in Manresa are envisioned to be transferred to XU’s property in Bugo known as El Gaucho.  

The XU Board of Trustees has been developing a masterplan for the Campus of the Future for more than five years now. A series of consultations with the various stakeholders had been conducted already in 2019, providing a venue for dialogues and conversations on the proposed campus and identifying the challenges and risks as well as generating possible solutions.

After considering several national real-estate players, the Board has chosen property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc (CLI) as its partner in developing the proposal for this new campus project.

CLI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jose Soberano III declared that the listed company is honored to be part of this game-changing project for both XU and Cagayan de Oro.

“Both CLI and XU have always shared the same goal – this new campus and university town is truly for the betterment of the people of Cagayan de Oro City,” says Soberano.

“This development will serve as a key catalyst for both the education and economy in the entire region.”

The Masterson Campus will be near XU’s 12-hectare Basic Education Complex in Pueblo de Oro, allowing the integration of campuses for greater efficiency and modernization.

This proposed masterplan is in line with the Jesuit university’s strategic plan to be the top university in Mindanao and among the best in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, particularly as Xavier Ateneo moves forward to celebrating its centennial in 2033.

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