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Framingham State working to determine best location for new 250-bed dorm

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  March 1, 2013 01:40 PM

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Contractors hired by Framingham State will work to determine where to build the new 250-bed dormitory on campus. One location being eyed is the parking lot at Maynard and Adams roads.

A plan to build a new eco-friendly 250-bed dormitory by fall 2016 on the western side of Framingham State University's campus is coming to fruition.

The Massachusetts State College Building Authority has issued a request for proposals to further study where the new residence could potentially be located, as well as the size and scope of the building.

"We'll be looking at the feasibility of specific sites," said Ed Adelman, executive director of the authority. "The (university's) master plan makes a general recommendation of the neighborhood, so the architect will look at specific lots."

The new dorm, which would host between 250 and 300 beds, is slated to cost between $26 million and $32 million.

The new residence hall would both help with rising enrollment and demand to live on campus at the university, as well as curtail the effects of the O’Connor Hall dorm being turned into an administrative building.

After relocating students from O'Connor Hall, the new dorm would net about 100 beds, said Dan Magazu, spokesman for the university.

"We’ve grown, and that’s why the O'Connor transition is happening," Magazu said. "We want to replace those beds so we can keep the same number of students living on campus."

Over the past five years, the university has seen nearly a 20 percent increase in the number of undergraduates. In fall 2012, there were 4,576 undergraduates and 1,930 graduate students.

The number of students living on campus shot up by more than 25 percent, to 1,941 - over half of the student population - as the school added more than 400 beds with the opening of the $48 million North Hall dormitory in fall 2011.

Once the dorm is built, the university would help pay down the construction debt by raising rents campuswide, as they did following the completion of North Hall, Magazu said.

So far, the university has pinpointed several locations on the western side of campus, such as the parking lot at Maynard and Adams roads, where the dorm could be located. If a parking lot is used, the university would look into also constructing a multi-story garage to make up for the spots lost, Magazu said.

Officials are also striving to make the new dorm eco-friendly, noting in the request for proposals that they are looking for long-term sustainable options when building the new residence.

The planning study is slated to begin in April and be completed by July. Officials are hoping to begin construction of the new dorm by spring 2015, with the building open for occupancy by the time school starts in August 2016.

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