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UMass Boston kicks off construction on $113 million academic building

Posted by Your Town  February 26, 2013 09:14 PM

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The University of Massachusetts Boston will begin construction on a $113 million academic building in the upcoming weeks, a project that is expected to finish in 2015, according to UMass Boston officials.

The 181,000-square foot building will house classrooms, a theater, a recital hall, studios, teaching labs, student lounges, and a cafeteria, according to a statement released by the university. Three academic programs - art, chemistry, and performing arts - will be based in the new building. According to officials, plans for the building began in 2010.

This project is part of UMass Boston’s 25-year master plan, which was created in 2007. The plan includes an Integrated Sciences Complex -- the first new academic building on campus in nearly 40 years, which is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

The Globe reported in April of 2012 that this academic building and the Integrated Sciences Complex are part of the $500 million Phase One of the master plan. Phase One, which began in 2008, is scheduled to last until 2017. As part of Phase One, the university intends to renovate roads, academic buildings, the Harbor Walk. Officials also said today that other plans include building a parking garage and residence hall that would house 1,000 students.

"Part of all of this is providing the type of physical and functional accommodations that best
meet the needs of our broad and diverse student body," Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston E. Langley said Tuesday in a phone interview.

DeWayne Lehman, a spokesman for the university, said the general academic building will be unique in that it will combine the sciences and the arts.

“It will be quite a mix,” he said. “And that’s what a university should have - interdisciplinary interaction between students and staff.”

The facility will feature 26 classrooms, including 18 classrooms seating 40 or fewer students, a multi-media studio classroom, four 150-200 seat discussion halls, and a 500 person lecture hall.

“This classroom building is vital for UMass Boston to provide the necessary space to meet our growing enrollment,” the website says.

Future projects include renovating academic space in McCormack and Wheatley Halls. These buildings were constructed in the 1970s, and since then have undergone minor renovations.

According to the UMass Boston website, the renovations will “include a broad range of renovations including but not limited to: gut-level lab renovations, reconfigured classrooms, modernized office and administrative spaces, and various aesthetic improvements.”

The school also plans to renovate the roadways and add bike lanes, trees, and sidewalks.

A project titled “HarborWalk Improvements and Shoreline Stabilization” is in the early stages of design. The project focuses on the 800 foot section of the HarborWalk that is located on campus. Goals for the project include: improving public access, and protecting the shoreline from erosion.

"Shoreline protection will include stabilizing the existing edge and eliminating the continued loss of debris (such as concrete and brick) into Boston Harbor," according to the UMass Boston website.

Katherine Landergan can be reached at For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.

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