University seeks to limit noise and distraction
By Rich Barlow. Graphic by Joseph Chan
Navigate through the graphic above to see how the new center will grow. Graphic by Joseph Chan
Now you see it, now you don’t.
If you never noticed the tiny two-story building at 108 Bay State Road, it’s too late now. The University office building was demolished last month, launching construction of the Center for Student Services on East Campus. What you can expect to see in the coming months is the birth of a 121,646-square-foot structure.
The University is striving to minimize public disruptions resulting from work on the 100 Bay State Rd. center, which is scheduled to open in September 2012.
In particular, there are no plans to interrupt or detour traffic on Bay State Road or Deerfield Street, says project overseer Walt Meissner (CFA’81), associate vice president for operations.
“From time to time, there will be deliveries, and a lot of equipment will be coming and going, but the site will be fenced to keep the activity within,” Meissner says. The alley threading between the site and 575 Commonwealth Ave. will close at its eastern end during the excavation phase of the project, through mid-May, requiring those who park behind the 100-to-130 block of Bay State Road to enter and exit via Silber Way. But the alley will reopen most or all evenings, he says, and close only occasionally during construction hours after that phase.
Moreover, he says, BU chose a type of foundation for the center that will “limit vibration and noise in the area.” Construction work will generally run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, with occasional Saturday work. The location and size of police details needed to direct equipment and deliveries to the site are in the planning stage, he says.
Ten trees on Bay State Road, Deerfield Street, and along the alley have already been removed. They “were not in particularly good health,” Meissner says. “The city was supportive of our plan” to eliminate them, “agreeing that it will be a significant improvement to the area.” The trees were taken down after a review by a conservation and preservation landscaping firm; 15 new trees will replace them on the two roadways.
When completed, the six-story building will house dining services and the relocated Center for Career Development and Educational Resource Center. The new center will be the eastern link in a chain of physical, mental, and spiritual amenities for students, including Marsh Chapel, the George Sherman Union, and the FitRec Center.
The University will post information and announcements about the project on a website, to be up shortly, that will include a webcam trained on the building site around the clock. “The building is designed in a manner that maintains the integrity of the look and feel of Bay State Road,” says Meissner, while its Kenmore Square side reflects that locale’s look.
To meet the September 2012 opening date, he says, “it will be critical to have the building erected, with exterior walls and the roof tight for winter, by early November” of this year.