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Transforming BU, One Project at a Time

Majority of summer construction work now completed


It’s hard to tell now, but just weeks ago, much of BU resembled a construction zone, as Facilities Management & Planning made headway on several maintenance and building projects that will enhance academic and student life. Many of those projects, ranging from breaking ground for a new life sciences building to renovated apartments for undergrads, are now finished or nearing completion, while some have just begun. The total cost of this summer’s projects is estimated at $60 million, according to David Flynn, Facilities Management & Planning assistant vice president of construction services.

These construction projects are in addition to the daily work required to maintain BU’s 322 buildings and grounds (encompassing 135 acres, spread over two campuses).

Below are updates on projects:

Danielsen Hall
512 Beacon Street

Built in 1926, 89-year-old Danielsen Hall houses 282 undergraduates on 10 floors. This summer, a survey was done in order to repair the building’s brick and stone façade. Work will begin soon on the east and west sides of the building, which Facilities Management & Planning promises will have a “minimum impact” on residents.

Myles Standish Hall
610 Beacon Street

Also marking its 89th birthday this year is Myles Standish Hall, home to 660 students. Full interior and exterior surveys are being conducted this fall to help confirm the scope of an anticipated construction project

“Myles has served the University for a long time, and we’re undertaking a full exploratory survey of the structure and mechanical and plumbing systems,” Flynn says. “Shawmut Design and Construction is checking the structure in and around the exterior wall. They want the information documented, so we can understand what the cost is to renovate it.”

Brownstone Renovations
84 Bay State Road

Work continued this summer to update graduate student rental buildings. At 84 Bay State Road, 10 apartments received new sprinkler and fire alarm systems, kitchens and baths, washers and dryers, heating systems, intercoms, paint, flooring, and lighting. Work was completed on the units in time for fall semester move-in.

Apartment Renovations
Bay State Road and South Campus

Undergraduate apartments on Bay State Road and South Campus had makeovers this summer as well. New kitchen cabinets and counters, Energy Star appliances, and bathroom fixtures were installed at the 75 residences on Mountfort Street, St. Mary’s Street, Bay State Road, and Beacon Street, as well as electrical upgrades, sprinkler systems, and fresh paint and carpeting.

Integrated Life Sciences Building at BU

The new, 17,000-square-foot Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering will contain lab space for approximately 160 researchers, postdoctoral students, and staff, 270 graduate students, and future faculty. Photo by Esther Ro (COM’15)

Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering
590 Commonwealth Avenue

Facilities Management & Planning replaced 309 damaged or split precast windowsills in this building, home to the College of Arts & Sciences physics and chemistry departments.

Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering (CILSE)
610 Commonwealth Avenue

Ground was broken for the new $150 million Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering in May. When finished (estimated to be spring 2017), the nine-story LEED-certified facility will bring together life scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Charles River and Medical Campuses. Designed by Payette Architects and being built by Turner Construction Company, this state-of-the-art research facility will house neuroscience research, systems/synthetic biology research, a cognitive neuroimaging center, and a satellite vivarium.

This summer, excavation of the site was finished, the foundation laid, and building construction begun.

Cummington Mall
48-100 Cummington Mall

As part of ongoing building maintenance, Facilities Management & Planning replaced the roofs on several academic buildings. Among the occupants receiving new roofs were several College of Engineering departments and the CAS sociology and psychological and brain sciences departments.

Tsai Performance Center
685 Commonwealth Avenue

A new audiovisual system was installed in the main auditorium.

Warren Towers
700 Commonwealth Avenue

Warren Towers’ Dining Hall serving area was substantially renovated to make room for a new dining hall station serving authentic Asian cuisine as well as gluten-free and deli stations. New condiment, soup, and drink stations were installed as well. The dining facility serves 890,000 meals annually and supports the more than 1,750 undergraduate students who reside in the building’s three towers.

Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC)
750 Commonwealth Avenue

The existing structure was built out to make room for new robotics and engineering lab spaces.

Photonics Center Retrocommissioning
8 St. Mary’s Street

Facilities Management & Planning’s building automation systems group is working towards a goal of reducing the University’s energy consumption by 10 percent between 2012 and 2017. Automation systems older than 10 to 15 years usually require major work (retrocommissioning) so the system can perform at its best. “We like to go back in and look at all of the systems to make sure everything is working at its peak performance, which will lower utility costs,” Flynn explains.

Upgrades this summer focused on year-round cooling capability (key for temperature-sensitive research), replacing the strobic exhaust fans and boiler combustion controls. The project is expected to reduce electricity and gas consumption by more than 20 percent, resulting in savings of 2.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 94,000 therms of natural gas annually.

BU Law Tower

The $184 million renovation of the School of Law includes a new moot courtroom that was modeled to fit federal court guidelines. Photo by Melissa Ostrow

School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue 

The LEED-registered Law Tower project adhered closely to architect Josep Lluís Sert’s original design, but the 256-foot structure, which was completed in 1964, has been completely upgraded. Windows were replaced with thermally insulated units and the exterior concrete panels were refurbished. The 18-story tower has new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, faculty and administrative offices, a moot courtroom, and student services space. Finishing touches, such as landscaping, and final inspections were made, and the building opened at the start of the fall 2015 semester.

The Pappas Law Library and the LAW Auditorium were also upgraded. Improvements to the library include accessibility upgrades such as a new limited access elevator to the teaching area. The auditorium has new audiovisual equipment, auditorium seats, and a raised teaching area.

Office and Building Renovations
25 Buick Street

Renovations to consolidate and modernize the Post Award Financial Operations Resources and the Sponsored Programs office continued. The project combined what were separate offices at 25 Buick Street and on the Medical Campus. At 14,000 square feet, the single large suite means the two offices share resources and conference areas.

Facilities Management & Planning also replaced the roof and repaired the exterior insulation around the building’s windows.

West Campus Dining
275 Babcock Street

The Fresh Food Company at West Campus salad bar, soup area, bakery, and condiment stations were upgraded. This dining facility serves 900,000 meals annually and supports more than 1,800 undergraduate students living in Claflin, Sleeper, and Rich Halls as well as nearly 800 students from 1019 Commonwealth Avenue and 33 Harry Agganis Way.

Nickerson Field

The 100-year-old Nickerson Field got a face-lift this summer with new and improved turf. The old turf was removed, the field regraded and lined, and 111,000 square feet of sustainable turf manufactured by GreenFields installed. The company says its woven synthetic turf allows better control of the ball and lets players pivot more easily. The project, which was completed in July, was greatly needed—the field is used up to 14 hours a day by BU men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, several club sports, and ROTC.

University Classroom Upgrades

Ongoing improvements were made to 26 classrooms over the summer. Among the technology upgrades were audiovisual improvements, installation of in-wall media cabinets, and an increased number of electrical outlets; other upgrades included lighting improvements, new furniture and ergonomic seating, and added board space.

School of Medicine Graduate Medical Sciences Career Resource Center
72 East Concord Street (L Building)

The School of Medicine Graduate Medical Sciences administrative offices were expanded to create a new career resource center.

Amy Laskowski, Senior Writer at Boston University Marketing & Communications editorial department
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

One Comment on Transforming BU, One Project at a Time

  • Lauren on 10.05.2015 at 9:57 am

    Should fix the college of fine arts building on the outside very deteriorated and spooky. More plants outside or some type of color to it.

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