In his speech at last Wednesday’s faculty convocation, Boston College Executive Vice President Mike Lochhead provided new information on the status of several high-profile facilities projects and renovations, breaking them down based on completion Highlights included details concerning the new Pine Tree Reserve and the much-anticipated Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.
He discussed the current timeline for the Schiller Institute, which is still in the design phase. The building is set to house laboratories, additional classrooms, the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Computer Science department. According to the project’s webpage, BC has already raised over $100 million of the $150 million budget. Lochhead also shared photos of the projected design.
“The planning and design should be done by next summer. Hopefully they’ll be able to take Cushing down and start it next summer and begin construction on this immediately thereafter,” he said. “So a little over a two year construction timeline, hoping to be into this building by the end of 2021.”
The list of complete and nearly-complete sites included several major upgrades to BC athletics. Over the past two years, the University has worked on support for the ACC Network, the league’s very own channel that will begin broadcasting in 2019. He also highlighted the Harrington Athletics Village, which was put into use last March.
Lochhead also announced that the Fish Field House is nearly finished. The site boasts an indoor synthetic turf field as well as a strength and conditioning center. This workout area is over double the size of the current, football-exclusive one in Conte Forum. BC will join Clemson as the second ACC team with a video board in their practice facility.
“Although you can’t see it, lurking below the surface of this project is a 2.4 million gallon stored water retention system. That project, in and of itself, will help contain some of the flooding activity we’ve seen on the Lower Campus over the last several years,” he said.
Last fall, the Devlin Hall admissions area received several renovations, including a 250-seat auditorium where the McMullen Museum of Art, which moved to its current location on Brighton Campus in 2016, used to be. Lochhead said that the University saw a pressing need to accommodate the increasing number of prospective students each year.
Walsh and Rubenstein Halls both received renovations over the summer. The seventh- and eighth-floor lounges in Walsh are now air conditioned. The Rubenstein rooms underwent a major overhaul that includes expanded kitchens, new bathrooms, new flooring and carpeting, and a more open floor plan. Lochhead suggested that there are more changes to come as the University responds to the high demand for on-campus housing.
“The University’s horizon for capital facilities is a 10-year horizon or longer. That requires the University to really focus its efforts today to fulfill those capacity restraints are and factor those restraints into our current plans,” Lochhead said.
In another minor project, the University upgraded security measures on campus by installing more Eagle-One card readers and security cameras across campus.
He went on to list several facilities that are still under construction, starting with the Connell Recreation Center, which is set to replace the Plex in the summer of 2019.
The Pine Tree Reserve, a joint effort between BC and the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA), is now set to open by early November of this year. Additions to the area, which is four acres big and located next to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, include lighting, pedestrian pathways, and more open space. The University will be responsible for cleaning up dead trees and redoing walkway, according to a press release.
Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Thomas Keady was responsible for working with the MWRA in order to secure the land for BC’s oversight. The MWRA will retain ownership of the land, while BC will be responsible for its upkeep.
Lochhead predicted the changes to be done by early November of this year. Campanella Way has been rerouted to connect to St. Thomas More Road, adjacent to the reserve.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor