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A New Look for BU Buildings

Classrooms, dorms, and Dunkin’ Donuts part of summer renovations


Click on the red camera icons to view photographs of construction work along Commonwealth Avenue.

Each summer, the Charles River Campus undergoes a dramatic transformation. Racquetball courts free up at FitRec, GSU eateries shut down, and sidewalks thin out after two semesters of Manhattanesque foot traffic.

But while most departments on campus experience a marked calm, there is one at its busiest, taking full advantage of students’ absence: Facilities Management and Planning. This summer, the department completed a series of constructions projects, ranging from a new Dunkin’ Donuts to auditorium renovations in the College of Arts and Sciences and a couple of flat-screens for the College of General Studies.

Here is a list of the latest improvements:

Teaching labs, 590 Commonwealth Ave.
A new HVAC roof unit with a cooling capacity of 1,000 tons has been installed. It will service the physics, biology, and chemistry department teaching labs at 590–596 Commonwealth Ave. In addition, a new roof was installed and all mechanical systems within the building were replaced. All of the new equipment is more energy-efficient.

Auditorium renovations, 725 Commonwealth Ave.
College of Arts and Sciences Rooms 522 and B12 were gutted and renovated to include new finishes, upgraded lighting and lighting controls, new seating, state-of-the art audiovisual presentation systems, wireless network access, and central air-conditioning.

Student housing, 722 Commonwealth Ave.
Renovations to this five-story apartment-style dormitory include upgraded plumbing, electrical, IT, and fire alarm systems. The building received new plaster ceilings, lighting, window treatments, and intercom system and a fresh coat of paint. The common areas were also refreshed with paint, new carpets, and new lighting. Units have new window treatments, furniture, and appliances.

Towers, 140 Bay State Rd.
Renovations were performed on all floors except three and four, which were done last summer. They included fresher looks for dorm room walls, as well as new carpets, light fixtures, window treatments, and furniture. All halls got new lighting, flooring, and paint, along with mirrors and bulletin boards in the common areas. The laundry rooms were reworked to provide space for recycling containers. Bathrooms received new privacy-length partitions between toilets, privacy barriers for shower stalls, as well as mirrors and light fixtures.

Residential units, 80–82 Ivy St.
Each of the 11 units in the complex was fully renovated, and new marble floors were installed in the entry area. Units have new wood floors, windows, gas fireplaces, kitchens (with new appliances), and bathrooms. In addition, the heating, air-conditioning, lighting, power, fire alarm, sprinkler, and intercom systems were all upgraded. The entries were rebuilt, with new doors, side lights, stairs, and railings. The Ivy Street frontage was landscaped and the rear was graded and paved.

West Campus Dining, 273–275 Babcock St.
All flooring was upgraded, a new cooking station and hood were installed, track lighting at stations was added, and new banquette seating will increase capacity. An emergency exit door was added because of the increased capacity.

Nickerson Field
The removal of the podium and old track surface allowed for the relocation and installation of a larger, 118,822-square-foot, synthetic grass playing field. A 400-meter perimeter track with a polyurethane synthetic surface will be installed in June 2009.

Commonwealth Avenue Improvement Project
Upgrades include improved sidewalks and crosswalks, enhanced disability access, a new bicycle lane, and new traffic signals. Among the improvements to the physical appearance are various brick treatments, new lighting, raised planters, and bicycle racks. The project is being directed by the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) in partnership with the city of Boston and Boston University and should be completed by the end of 2008.

College of General Studies, 871 Commonwealth Ave.
The main lobby and corridor have new flooring, lighting, and furnishings, as well as wireless access, a flat-screen directory, two flat-screen televisions, and nine computer workstations.

Starbucks, 700 Commonwealth Ave.
The site of the old Taco Bell was gutted and renovated to make way for Starbucks. The new coffee shop has high-end finishes, new restrooms, wireless access, table and soft seating, and a gas-powered fireplace.

Dunkin’ Donuts, 10 Buick St.
A new Dunkin’ Donuts has opened in a renovated portion of Campus Convenience.

Media Resource Center, 635 Commonwealth Ave.
Darkrooms and storage space were transformed into open study areas, media services, and a conference room. The work incorporated sustainable principles, including light occupancy sensors and dimming controls based on daylight, new glazing systems to enhance natural daylight, and rapidly renewable materials like bamboo for the millwork and cork for the flooring.

College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Ave.
The basement was demolished and all new heating, air-conditioning, and lighting systems, as well as music rooms, flooring, ceilings, classrooms, and instrument storage facilities, were installed. In order to unify the music program in the basement of 855 Commonwealth Ave., the printmaking program was moved to the fourth floor of 808 Commonwealth Ave.

College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Ave.
The appearance of the green space has been improved, with concrete walkways, new trees, shrubs, and sod, while wrought iron fences were removed.

Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.


4 Comments on A New Look for BU Buildings

  • amlaskow on 09.12.2008 at 11:53 am

    Dunkin' Donuts, Seriously?

    Why does BU keep adding more Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts? Let’s get more real coffee shops on campus. The only thing us coffee drinkers have is Espresso Royale and the wait is unbearable and the employees are way too smug. BU, if you want to add a chain coffee shop at least make it Peet’s. They have both good coffee and good pastries. Both of which Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts lack. I am sick of coffee shops hiding their sub-par quality behind sugar.

  • Anonymous on 09.13.2008 at 11:10 am

    i love dunkin donuts and starbucks and everything they have to offer. however, i think they shouldn’t have taken out the taco bell and if they did they def shouldn’t have replaced it with starbucks. Peets sucks.

  • Anonymous on 09.14.2008 at 2:52 pm

    Do the library, please.

    The library really needs some renovation, or preferably an entirely new building. In some places the ceiling leaks and the place just feels like a dungeon. keeping the grad students in cages is just not that conducive to a learning environment.

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2008 at 1:15 pm

    serving the students

    What about keeping food choices around campus cheap!? Why not put in a decent deli with some healthy choices rather than another over-priced coffee shop.

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