Student Center Coming to East Campus
$50 million facility for dining, academic, and career services| From Commonwealth | By Leslie Friday
A rendering of the proposed East Campus Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road. Images courtesy of Bruner/Cott & Associates
For years, students living on East Campus have been keenly aware of the distance to amenities on West Campus — the Fitness and Recreation Center and the StuVi residences — as well as Central Campus niceties like the George Sherman Union. Easterners, it seemed, had no social center of gravity.
That will soon change.
BU plans to build a six-story structure that will house dining services and a new home for Career Services and the Educational Resource Center (ERC). Construction of the estimated $50 million East Campus Center for Student Services is slated to begin this winter, and it is scheduled to open in fall 2012.
Preliminary plans for the center emerged from the University’s strategic planning process in 2007. Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) and Laurie Pohl, vice president for enrollment and student affairs, discussed how BU could better connect existing career and educational resource services, housed in separate (and relatively tired and obscure) locations.
At the same time, Dining Services knew that East Campus dining options paled in comparison to others. When they ran the numbers, says Pohl, they found that renovating the dining areas in Shelton Hall, Myles Standish Hall, and Towers would be more expensive than building a new facility. So officials decided to combine the three major services under one roof and locate that roof at 100 Bay State Road, at Deerfield Street, a space that is now a parking lot.
Gary Nicksa, vice president of operations, says the architects worked hard to design a building that would suit the two different neighborhoods — one historic, the other modern — the center will bridge. The result is a structure whose Bay State Road side will be brick and stand three stories tall, while the Kenmore side will have a modern façade and six stories.
The floor plan for the East Campus Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road.
The center’s first two floors will be dedicated to dining facilities, with a basement level cash-and-carry café. Much like West Campus dining, food will be prepared in front of students. Elmore says that while the shift of dining halls from dorms to a central location will inconvenience some students, he thinks most of them will find the new facility a “good responsive space.”
The center’s middle floors will be home to first- and second-year advising services for the College of Arts & Sciences, and the fifth and sixth floors will house the Educational Resource Center, now on the GSU’s fourth floor, and Career Services, now at 19 Deerfield Street. Their current locations will likely become additional space for student groups and offices.
Pohl says the move is designed to fulfill a growing need. The ERC, which offers tutoring, language group discussions, and writing and reading workshops, expanded from 47 full-time and student employees in fall 2004 to 262 by fall 2008, and the University plans to continue to boost staff at the two centers to meet demand. Both centers are open to all undergraduate and graduate students.
Officials hope the new facility, where students can find help choosing a major, receive career counseling, and meet potential employers during job fairs, will draw students early in their college careers.
“Every year, the world gets more complicated. As a result, students need more help and better guidance,” says BU trustee Sharon Ryan (SAR’70), who, with her husband, Robert, gave $1 million this past year to help endow the center's programs, a gift that was inspired in part by the positive experience their daughter, Leslie Ryan (SED'96), had at the University. “This new facility, and the programs within it, will make sure that they get the help and guidance they need.”