Campus, News

Geothermal drilling disrupting Bay State residents

Boston University housing on Bay State Rd. shown from the building’s rear alleyway. Geothermal drilling for the construction of the new Center for Computing and Data Sciences Building has disrupted life for Bay State residents, many of whom have filed noise complaints. DANIEL KOOL/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Construction on Boston University’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences building is currently underway and affecting BU students who live on the nearby Bay State Road. The digging of geothermal wells has drawn noise complaints, and construction is slated to continue until summer 2020, according to Walt Meissner, associate vice president for Campus Planning and Operations. 

The building’s street address will be 665 Commonwealth Ave., located next to the College of Arts and Sciences, according to Azer Bestavros, director of the Data Science Initiative and associate provost for Computing and Data Sciences. 

The building will have 31 geothermal wells, which according to Meissner have already been dug and drilled. Now the formation of the building can begin, with the first work including the addition of fencing and protective walkways, beginning as early as March 23.

Meissner said the well digging already produced noise complaints among Bay State Road brownstone residents. He said it is impossible to silence construction noises, but there will be communication between BU officials and students to limit future disturbances.

“The bottom line is that it is a construction site, similar to any construction that’s done in an urban area,” Meissner said. “And the best that we can do is keep the abutters in terms of what the schedule and what will be most disturbing to them.”

This line of communication was already instituted during the well digging, Meissner said.

Meissner wrote in an email that construction should take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., in accordance with city mandates, but the university hopes to limit noise during that time period.

“The construction team is sensitive to our desire to restrict as much noise as possible early in the morning, but we cannot make any promises,” Meissner wrote.

Meissner also said that while the construction will take some time and produce some disruptive noise, this is an important project to the university.

“This is going to be a transformational building for the university in our Data Sciences, Computing and Data Sciences programs,” Meissner said. “We’ll do as best we can to be as least disruptive to the community as possible.”

Once construction is completed, Bestavros said it will host classes and learning centers, while providing study spaces and social areas to the BU community.

“From my perspective, [the building will add] much-needed space for growing faculty [to BU] in very, very important and relevant areas for our teaching mission as well as for our research,” Bestavros said. “This is so very important addition to the campus because of the public space it will create.”

Jessie Yang, a freshman in the College of General Studies, said while she doesn’t live on Bay State Road and won’t be affected by the noise, she does think the campus as a whole still will be impacted.

“It does kind of put a damper on the overall ambiance of campus,” Yang said. “I remember when I came here for admitted students weekend, they had a lot of construction going on on Commonwealth Ave. near where they still have it [going on] near CGS.” 

Hussain Valiuddin, a junior in the College of Engineering, said he thinks the foot traffic surrounding the area will be affected by the ongoing construction.

“Currently there isn’t much construction going on,” Valiuddin said. “But eventually when it starts breaking ground, I do feel that there’s gonna be a lot of construction where it goes, which may hinder how students get about on campus.”

Charles Zhou, a freshman in the CAS and current Bay State resident, said the noise hasn’t reached him this year, but it does affect his housing decisions for next year.

“If I’m sleeping, I don’t want to be woken up early in the morning,” Zhou said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the address of the Center for Computing and Data Sciences building will be 78 Commonwealth Ave.

Comments are closed.