While Loyola University was closed for fall break, work began Monday to cut down a massive live oak estimated to be as old as the Uptown school to make way for the expansion of Monroe Hall. Felling the century-old tree was a last resort, according to university officials.
A botanist and landscaper had been studying the prospects of moving the oak, which had stood near Calhoun and Loyola streets, but concluded that it was not a candidate for relocation, officials said.
"We're all broken up about this," said Bob Thomas, director of Loyola's Center for Environmental Communication.
But, he said, the university has announced it will give $500 to replant native trees in this part of the state, and Monroe Hall's expansion is designed to turn the 42-year-old building into an environmentally friendly structure that will use less energy.