Questions & Answers
What exactly is being built?
We're constructing a five-story building to the west of the law tower that will include state-of-the-art classrooms, enhanced student gathering spaces, and an improved library facility. The goal is to improve the quality of the space that students use most, and to make that space more easily accessible.
Why is it being built now?
Since planning for the new law school building began nearly a decade ago, the current project represents the culmination of years of discussion and study by leaders of the Law School and the University. While the law tower is an iconic architectural structure on the BU campus, its usability as a modern educational facility has been outmoded by evolving legal education trends. Recognizing that the Law School needs a physical facility that offers the appropriate space and modern amenities to meet the contemporary requirements of legal education, BU has moved forward with this very important project.
Will the new building replace the law tower?
No. We will be restoring the exterior of the tower and renovating the interior to make it a more functional home for the many offices and services that support our students. The tower will be revamped with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, larger bathrooms, and modern facilities to house the school's administrative departments, faculty offices, moot courtrooms and writing programs.
How will students benefit?
Students will benefit from additional classrooms, comfortable meeting spaces, and expanded study areas that will enhance both their educational and student life experience. A goal for the new building is to create more "horizontal" space where students can engage with each other—have lunch, hang out etc. Another goal is to provide students with easier access to classrooms. All in all, we want to create a facility that has the best space possible to support our strong sense of community. Our thinking is that adding more horizontal space would be the best kind of improvement to our existing very "vertical" tower.
What is the timeframe for the project?
Construction of the Redstone Building began in May 2013, and will be completed by the start of the Fall 2014 semester. The law tower will be completely renovated during the 2014-2015 academic year and reopen in Fall 2015.
Will classes be affected by the construction?
While some construction noise is unavoidable, we are making every effort to minimize disruptions during class hours. Also, the noisiest work has largely been done during summers, intersession, and off-hours.
Will the current number of classrooms be affected by the construction project?
No. During the first phase of construction, we will have exactly the same number of classrooms that we do now. During the second phase we will hold virtually all our classes in the Redstone Building.
How is this project being paid for? Will it impact tuition?
Almost all of the money for this project is being supplied by some combination of university funding and contributions from alumni. The building is being named in honor of Sumner M. Redstone, a former BU Law faculty member, in gratitude for his $18 million gift for this facility. Regarding sudents' tuition bill, it always reflects many sorts of expenses, including the overhead involved in providing the current building and some of the expenses of putting up a new facility (or the university’s cost of doing construction elsewhere on campus).
How will the construction affect student events?
Part of the point of the new building is to greatly improve the amount of space available for hosting events. The number of event spaces in the law tower will remain the same during the constuction of the Redstone Building.
Will the library be open during the construction?
Yes. However, the Library Circulation and Reserve collections and staff, as well as the library scanners and copiers, have moved into the Pappas Reading Room for the 2013-14 year while the winter garden and new library entrance are being constructed. Additional study space is available on the 3rd and 17th floors.
Where will faculty offices be located during construction?
During the 2013-14 academic year, they will be where they always have been. Faculty offices and most administrative offices will be relocated to 910 Commonwealth Avenue next year while the law tower is being renovated.
Will the cafe on the first floor of the law tower remain open?
During the construction of the Redstone Building, the cafe will remain open. The refrigerators and microwaves that had been located in the 1st Floor Lounge have been moved to the café.
What happened to Ring Lounge and the 1st Floor Lounge?
Ring Lounge and the 1st Floor Lounge have been demolished as part of the new building project. We have opened a new student lounge on the 17th floor that is larger than Ring Lounge and is furnished with comfortable seating, work stations, and a vending machine.
How will entrances to the law tower be affected?
During the first phase of construction, the back door of the tower will not be usable; everyone will come in through the auditorium entrance and take the elevators to wherever they want to go, though there sometimes might be periods where you walk under some scaffolding or are routed away from it. After the Redstone Building is constructed, you will enter through the new building's main entrance.
Will classes be held in more than one building during construction?
Classes will be held in the law tower during the 2013-14 academic year. Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, most classes will be held in the Redstone Building.