Summer Construction Season in Full Swing

Jeff Hoseth, associate director of construction services, in a gutted Sleeper Hall dorm room. Photo by Cydney Scott. Credit BU Today.
Jeff Hoseth, associate director of construction services, in a gutted Sleeper Hall dorm room. Photo by Cydney Scott. Via BU Today.

One BU official calls it Extreme Makeover: Apartment Edition.

Sleeper Hall is undergoing a complete renovation this summer. Each of the dorm’s 316 rooms is getting a fresh coat of paint and new lighting, carpet, furniture, and closet wardrobes. Bathrooms are being remodeled. And the second floor student lounge will get a total facelift.

All that must be completed in less than three months, before students return for fall semester. “There is a lot of pressure,” says Jeff Hoseth, Facilities Management and Planning associate director of construction services, “and the contractors feel it.”

Sleeper Hall is among 38 projects targeted for Boston University’s aggressive summer construction season, which began the day after Commencement and runs until early August. Crews have been renovating dorms, expanding laboratory space, upgrading classroom technology, and making a series of energy-efficient improvements campus-wide since students left in May.

“We wait for this period all year,” says Thomas Daley, associate vice president for Facilities Management and Planning.

With an estimated price tag of $50 million, Daley says the investment is necessary to maintain BU and to grow the Charles River and Medical Campuses. “The buildings and infrastructure that we have have a finite lifetime,” he says. “You want to extend that lifetime as much as you can.”

Road closings or noise should not be an issue this construction season. “It’s probably not going to get much worse than it is right now,” Daley says.

In addition to Sleeper Hall, the residential brownstone at 203 Bay State Road will undergo a complete historical renovation. Nine faculty apartments will open at 85-87 St. Mary’s St. after a yearlong remodeling effort. And construction continues on the Albany Fellows Graduate Housing, at 815 Albany St., on the Medical Campus, which when completed will provide 104 two-bedroom apartments for School of Medicine students.

Crews are forging ahead on the Center for Student Services, at 100 Bay State Road, which will be the new home for academic advising programs, Student Services, the Center for Career Development, and a dining hall. The building is scheduled to open in September 2012.

Chemistry students and faculty will benefit from laboratory renovations at the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering and at 712 Beacon St. Several auditoriums—including in the Metcalf Center, the College of Communication, and the Stone Science Building—will receive technology upgrades and revamped interiors.

Projection and media equipment, lighting controls, and stereo audio systems are being updated in 32 additional Charles River Campus classrooms this summer.

Work also continues on the new Hariri Institute for Computational Science & Engineering, at 111 Cummington St., which will open by fall semester, and the design phase of the School of Law remodeling and expansion continues. Officials plan to break ground on the new LAW wing, which will provide new classrooms, new study space, and an additional library, in May 2012. Construction is expected to take two years. The current tower should be remodeled over the next 15 months.

In a nod to the University’s emphasis on green building, the School of Law, the Center for Student Services, the Albany Fellows Graduate Housing, and the 85-87 St. Mary’s St. projects are all aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Sleeper Hall is being outfitted with energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors and most of its construction waste is being recycled, according to University sustainability director Dennis Carlberg.

Energy-efficient lighting systems are also being installed in Walter Brown Arena, Sargent College, and 44 Cummington St., and 500-plus windows are being replaced at the College of Arts & Sciences, Metropolitan College, and the Schools of Theology and Education. The new windows are more energy-efficient and historically accurate. In addition, the boilers in five buildings are being converted this summer from oil to natural gas systems, reducing BU’s carbon footprint by another 0.7 percent, Carlberg says.

Back at Sleeper Hall, Hoseth wraps up a tour of the gutted dorm and casually chats with the construction manager. He seems incapable of breaking a sweat, maybe because this is all déjà vu for him. After all, he oversaw last summer’s seamless remodeling of Claflin Hall.

Daley knows Hoseth will bring the dorm in on time. “He has to,” he says, “or the University is in a heck of a mess.”

Leslie Friday can be reached at; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.

Originally published by BU Today.

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