(Image courtesy UMass Boston)
Pylons are being set and cement is being poured at the University of Massachusetts Boston as construction on the harborside campus picks up pace.
The construction is part of the university’s Master Plan, which was developed in 2007 and reviewed ways to repair and prepare the campus to move into the future.
The university is holding a community meeting Monday April 9 to review with residents the work it has planned; what residents can expect to see happening at the university; and how construction might impact the neighborhood.
UMass is in the middle of constructing a new Integrated Sciences Complex, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2013. The 220,000-square-foot building, which will cost an estimated $155 million, will not only allow the university to better serve its students and staff but the university hopes to have the new building LEED-certified Silver.
The university is also in the planning phase of another academic building, which it expects to break ground on in the summer of 2012. The 171,000-square-foot general academic building is expected to cost close to $100 million and provide the school with more space for classes and the arts.
Both of the buildings are part of the $500 million Phase One of the universities’ master plan. Along with adding new buildings, Phase One, which will run from 2008 – 2017, will review ways to better allocate space on the campus as well as review Utility Corridor and Roadway Relocation, which will work to improve traffic circulation and pedestrian connections.
With the review of roadways on the campus the university is looking to not only allow for better vehicular access, but to also create a more pedestrian and bike friendly campus.
Improvements to the roadway include resurfacing it and changing the current traffic pattern from a one-way road that circles the campus to a two-way road with bike lanes, sidewalks, and improved green space. The university is also lobbying to get a Hubway station on campus, the first in Dorchester.
Roadway improvements also include rerouting the road away from the university’s track field to the JFK Library and connecting it with Mt. Vernon Street, to increase access to the library. The school will also address parking concerns and will be reviewing the construction of two multi-level parking garages. University officials will also discuss the demolition of the school's existing parking garage substructure and the replacement of it with green space and a more student friendly space.
With the improvements to the roadway the school will also be able to expand green space around the Campus Center. Extending the current grassy area all the way to the Harbor Walk on the eastern side of the campus.
According to Dorothy Renaghan, assistant vice chancellor for facilities management, the school is also planning to make improvements to a portion of the Harbor Walk that stretches along the northern edge of the campus.
“The Integrated Sciences Complex is for the university,” said Renaghan. “The Harbor Walk is for the community.”
The clean up of the Calf Pasture Pumping Station, acquired by the university from the city of Boston, will also be discussed but the university has not determined what to use the building for.
But while there is visible excitement on the campus which hasn’t seen renovations on it since the 1970s the school still has a lot of work to do and a lot of feedback to get from the surrounding community.
The meeting set for Monday will be held in the school’s Campus Center in Ballroom B from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
To learn more about the universities’ Master Plan or the construction currently happening on the campus a construction website has been set up by the university to help keep residents informed about progress.