In a speech at last week’s faculty convocation, Boston College Executive Vice President Mike Lochhead offered an overview of the nearly 75 ongoing and completed campus improvement projects.
Campus-wide, the University is updating and increasing the capacity of the central heating plant. This is a significant undertaking as it requires the replacement of many 1960s and 1970s era boilers on campus, in addition to the construction of a second exhaust stack on Lower campus, Lochhead said. This project is expected to be completed in December.
A major impetus in upgrading the antiquated heating system is the construction of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society. This building, which is being built on the land formerly occupied by Cushing Hall, will stress the existing campus infrastructure, Lochhead said.
Construction for Schiller is on track, with the demolition of Cushing Hall nearly complete, according to Lochhead. Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin in November and is expected to be finished by December 2021.
The first three floors will feature traditional classrooms, a café, and the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship. The top two floors will be primarily comprised of labs and offices for the Schiller Institute.
Renovations in Carney Hall—aimed at creating nine new classrooms to compensate for the destruction of Cushing Hall—began last spring. The University is taking the opportunity to test classroom designs for potential use in Schiller, Lochhead said.
As part of BC’s efforts to make its recently acquired property at 300 Hammond Pond Parkway more useful to students, the University upgraded the audio-visual equipment in the 800-seat auditorium, Lochhead said.
“Currently, we are hosting several rehearsals, performances, and some lectures out there,” Lochhead said. “[300 Hammond Pond Park] is one that I think is going to grow in demand and use as it continues to be invested in.”
Also already underway is the second phase of construction at the Harrington Athletics Village. This phase is primarily concerned with the construction of the Pete Frates Center which will house locker rooms, coaches offices, hitting tunnels, and hospitality areas for both the baseball and softball teams. The project is expected to be done in August of 2020.
Construction on the Pine Tree Preserve also wrapped up over the summer. The new recreation area, located at the corner of Campanella Way and St. Thomas More Road, opened in July. After months of negotiation, BC struck a deal with the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority to access and manage the land.
The completion of the highly-anticipated Margot Connell Recreation Center was noted as well. It boasts—among other features—four basketball courts, tennis courts, several multipurpose courts, a number of general fitness areas, and two swimming pools. The Recreation Center replaced the Flynn Recreation Complex.
The empty space left over from the demolition of the Plex will become outdoor tennis and basketball courts, along with additional parking and a grass field, according to Lochhead. Beautification efforts will be rolled out in stages, but the entire effort will conclude by mid-2020, according to Lochhead.
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor