730 Commonwealth Avenue, the building that houses the East Campus CVS and the BUild Lab, is currently under construction to replace the building’s aging facade, and it will be until the end of the calendar year.
Michael Donovan, vice president of the Boston University Office of Campus Planning and Operations, said the facade was being replaced due to old age.
“It is an older building on campus and the facade outlived its life,” Donovan said. “This is unlike what I think some of the other projects we have on campus — or are seeing now. So what you are seeing with the sidewalk protection is exactly that. And we currently on the assessment stage while [it is] being restored.”
The construction was approved to start after commencement on May 19, although scaffolding had been in place since the fall 2018 semester. The plan, according to Donovan, is to finish the construction by the end of the calendar year and is currently on track to finish by December.
“We are definitely on-track and that is one of the reasons why we worked through Labor Day and worked hard on this throughout the summer,” Donovan said. “We knew that when students, faculty and staff came back [on-campus], the noise can be a nuisance. That is why it is in everybody’s interest and our interest to get it done as soon as possible.”
Nevertheless, there are some safety concerns that students have raised about the construction. Liah Alemayehu, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks the construction can be inconvenient and causes traffic congestions.
“I think it [the construction] is honestly unsafe,” Alemayehu said. “When I was walking through it, water was dripping everywhere. One time my friend got drenched because she got water spilled on her while walking under it. I also think it causes traffic because everyone is squeezed in this small area — it forces people to walk on the bike lanes which is also dangerous. It would be better if they picked another time — maybe not the fall semester when everyone is back on-campus and is rushing on their way to class.”
Donovan said he realizes the construction may cause some noise complaints, but said that most of the heavy work has been done during the summer.
“Most of the noisy work is being done with stone — mostly the exterior facade of the building,” Donovan said. “There is going to some noise because of the process of assessing the condition of the exterior and removing areas of stone. However, most of the really heavy noisy work has already been done. We will try to moderate the noise but it is inevitable.”
The College of Fine Arts is also going through a similar construction with scaffolding being placed on the sidewalk in front of the building in West Campus.
“As we move further down the street, west BU bridge, at 855 Commonwealth Avenue, you can see the College of Fine Arts’ sidewalks and protections in place there as well,” Donovan said. “That project includes a major facade replacement for all sides of the building. The difference is that CFA project has a fair amount of interior work as well – insofar as the first and second floor.”
Some students do not seem to be fazed by the new constructions, as they are used to the sight on campus. Julia Yang, a sophomore in CAS said this is not unexpected for BU.
“I mean I am used to it,” Yang said. “Living in West Campus last year, there were constant constructions on the sidewalks and the buildings. At some point, you get used to walking around it. Yeah, it is annoying because the sidewalks get crammed but what can we do. I just hope they finish it soon.”
The purpose of construction is confusing for some students, like Sannah Kim, a sophomore in the College of Communication, who said she was unsure about why BU was taking on so much construction.
“I feel like BU always has construction going on,” Kim said. “Which building is this renovating? Because the protection is in front of CVS mainly. There are always so many projects going on at once on Comm. Ave.”
Donovan said the construction is not only for the looks of the building but also important for the safety of the building due to its old age.
“It was just that facade must be replaced by age,” Donovan said. “We want it to look aesthetically pleasing and most importantly, safe for BU.”