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Myles Face-lift, Part One

BU’s oldest dorm is becoming its newest dorm

This is the third year that Janet Araque has called Myles Standish Hall home. While Araque (ENG’18) fondly remembers her previous homey rooms, she prefers her newer, spiffier digs in the west half of the building, which has undergone a massive modernization and preservation (and yes, those two words are not mutually exclusive). It reopened to students this fall.

Myles Standish Renovation Infographic

Infographic by Gabriella Ketema

“There are actually several electric outlets in my room now,” Araque says with a laugh. “I have air-conditioning. I don’t have to walk through my roommate’s room to get to the bathroom. There’s even a communal kitchen that so many people in the building use.”

Each of the three parts of Myles Standish Hall is in a different phase of construction—the west half of Myles is completely renovated, the east half is currently a construction zone, and the Annex hasn’t been touched. Scheduled for completion in August 2018, the $133 million, LEED-registered remake will increase the number of private bedrooms and include modern amenities, study rooms, a game room, music practice rooms, a community kitchen, and a new public park, flanked by elm and maple trees and benches. Eventually 730 students will occupy the building.

With the exception of some minor cosmetic work, the former Boston hotel hadn’t been renovated since it was built in the mid 1920s, says Marc Robillard, executive director for auxiliary services. “The rooms looked like they did before the Depression,” Robillard says. “We saw the perfect opportunity to take a building and rehabilitate it. It’s a historic building in the Back Bay historic district. We have to maintain its integrity.”

“The building has a lot of charm and history, so we are trying to maintain that as much as possible,” says Compass Project Management assistant project manager Mia-Bianca Ayers, who is helping to lead the transformation. “We are adhering to historical standards with the facade, and there are modern amenities throughout.”

On the west side of the building, the exterior has been refreshed, with new stonework, windows, and roof (scaffolding still clings to the east half). The 90-plus-year-old structure’s dark-paneled, chandeliered lobby was also restored.

Joelle Suarez (CAS’09) says she was one of the few freshmen living in Myles between 2005 and 2006: her prerenovated room (left). Photo courtesy of Suarez. A Myles room that was renovated this summer (right). Photo by Dan Aguirre

The goal is for all the Myles rooms to have air-conditioning and individual thermostats. Sensors can tell if someone is in the room or not, and the lights turn off accordingly. In an old Myles suite, students often had to schlep through one another’s bedrooms to get to the bathroom. Now bedrooms spill out into a common corridor that leads to the bathroom. The sinks in the new bathrooms are in a separate area from the shower and toilet. Most accommodations are four-person suites, consisting of a double room, two singles, and a shared bathroom. The eight-person suites have three doubles, two singles, and two bathrooms.

“Myles Standish Hall is the landmark of East Campus. The building tips its hat to the history of Boston University.”—Marc Robillard

Myles residents are paying a discounted rent during the renovation, Robillard says.

The colossal undertaking began in summer 2015 as Facilities Management & Planning (FM&P) conducted full interior and exterior surveys to determine the scope of the renovation. Phase one, launched in May 2016 by Shawmut Design and Construction and finished in August 2017, involved the west half of the building. In May, phase two started on the east half of the building and will continue through August 2018. Phase three starts in June 2018 and will also finish in August 2018.

“Myles Standish Hall is the landmark of East Campus,” Robillard says. “The building tips its hat to the history of Boston University, and it now provides a modern, 21st-century living environment.”

John Morgan (Questrom’52) lived in Myles back in the 1950s (left). Photo courtesy of Diane Morgan Billings. A current, renovated single room in Myles (right). Photo by Dan Aguierre

Amy Laskowski

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

4 Comments on Myles Face-lift, Part One

  • Peter Stavropoulos on 09.25.2017 at 2:47 pm

    I have many fond memories of room 916 with Tony Corrao and Tom Moore.

  • Lisa on 09.25.2017 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks for this story – what a blast from the past! I lived in Myles and remember those old radiators – they were noisy and hot!

    • Logic Rules on 09.26.2017 at 7:21 am

      I always thought that radiators were supposed to be hot!

  • Gary Newell on 10.03.2017 at 10:04 am

    I lived in Myles Standish during the 1972-73 academic year and loved that old place. It had so much character and charm. Glad to see the renovation is keeping all of that while bringing the rooms up to date. Congrats to those involved in the decision to renovate rather than replace!

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