Campus, News

Drilling for Data Science Center creates clangor in East Campus

Drilling noises have occured on Bay State Road as a result of construction on Boston University’s campus.

During Boston University’s Spring semester, drilling noises have filled Bay State Road, caused by drilling for test wells for the new Data Science Center.

BU spokesperson Colin Riley said that the school tries to have open communication with the construction crews that are working on campus.

“One constant in the city of Boston is that work crews can show up and begin doing scheduled work and sometimes unscheduled work.” Riley said.

Riley said that BU is drilling near Bay State in order to create test wells. These will test the grounding system to see how many wells they will need to build for the geothermal heating and cooling of the new Data Sciences Center.

Geothermal heat pumps “allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies on the coldest of winter night,” according to the Green Energy Mechanical Inc. The test wells determine how many geothermal heat pumps are needed for the Data Sciences Center.

BU’s geothermal technology is part of the university’s Climate Action Plan. This project will consist of three different geothermal test wells that will take place in the parking lot of 645 Commonwealth Ave., the alleyway behind 184 Bay State Road, and the corner of Granby St. and Bay State Road. These test wells will show if geothermal wells can be a viable source of energy source for the new building, and presuming that these are functional, 27 additional wells will be drilled.

The Data Sciences Center will be built across from the College of Communication. It was proposed in 2012 by BU President Robert Brown and University Provost Jean Morrison.

“The project is critical to the University to give expansion space to the important fields that are driving the use of modern data sciences across the spectrum of our economy and society,” Brown said last October.

Riley said he is unsure of when the test drilling is going to end on Bay State Road, but said BU and private contractors have open communication. He said faculty and students will be informed of any major projects that are taking place.

According to the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the Data Sciences Center will combine the departments of computer science, mathematics, computational science, and engineering to form an “iconic building at the heart of Boston University’s Charles River Campus.”

Some BU students are concerned about the construction that will take place in the following years from the construction of the Data Sciences Center. After this test drilling, the construction is set to begin soon and the university is aiming to finish by the spring of 2022.

Antwan Jones, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he does not think the drilling should be going on during the Winter semester.

“They should do it in the summer.” Jones said. “There are less students here during the summer.”

Elena Gonzalez, a freshman in the College of General Studies, said she believes that the university should have better timing when it comes to construction that might disrupt students.

“When students are trying to study or sleep or anything, I could see how it could be pretty disturbing.” Gonzalez said. “This could be definitely pushed off towards the summer.”

Joyce Doherty, a freshman in the CGS, said she also thinks the drilling could have waited until the Summer.

“It would probably be more favorable to students if [the construction] did happen during the Summer,” Doherty said, “rather than during finals.”


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