Boston University representatives and construction project managers for the Center for Computing and Data Sciences addressed student concerns and questions during a webinar Wednesday night.
This discussion was part of a series of sessions to be held each semester by Residence Life until the center opens, as a way of keeping students who live near the site informed about the project.
David Zamojski, assistant dean of students and director of ResLife, said the construction of the center would consolidate the location of multiple departments.
“An important project,” he said, “that will bring together our mathematics, statistics and computer science programs in one 19-story structure.”
Project Executive Walt Meissner, who also serves as BU’s Associate Vice President for Operations, said the new center will include numerous “high-tech registrar classrooms,” while the top two floors will be reserved for mechanical and open airspace for future events.
“This will really change the architectural landscape of our university, and it is a game-changer,” Meissner said. “It’s going to bring us a physical capacity to really make a difference in this field.”
Associate Vice President for University Sustainability Dennis Carlberg said the construction of the Center is a step toward the University’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 — ten years ahead of the city of Boston’s projected date.
He said the center will have external sun shading to keep the building cool during the summer and three layers of glass to preserve heat in the winter. This will maximize the energy performance in systems used for heating and cooling.
Carlberg added the building will not make use of natural gas.
“There will be no gasoline connected to this building,” he said. “That is bold. And that allows us to be fossil-fuel free.”
In addition, Carlberg said the building aims to receive its Zero Waste Certification once it opens.
“When the building is operating,” Carlberg said, “we are expecting to see 90 percent of the waste generated in the building to be diverted in a landfill, or in our case, from incineration.”
The building will also help the University achieve its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — LEED — Platinum certification, he said.
“Mayor Walsh talked about how Boston University is a climate leader,” he said. “He sees the Center as a leading example for sustainable design and an important solution for helping the city meet its climate action goal to be carbon-free by 2050.”
Chris Kenney, senior project manager for Compass Project Management — a Norfolk construction company working on the project — said the construction of the building is working on its current phase, which focuses on concrete foundations and core construction and aims to be completed by the end of April.
In response to a participant question, Carlberg said there would be sustainable cleaning practices once the building opens.
“Certainly there will be,” Carlberg said. “On campus today, 99 percent of the cleaning chemicals that are used for cleaning on campus are EcoLogo or Green Seal Certified, which exceeds the EPA standards.”
Carlberg added that the University tends to go out of its way to get certification in every project they complete.
“It’s really remarkable what our janitorial staff have done over the years to change to sustainable cleaning program,” he said. “And the sustainable cleaning program is essentially a LEED-Certified program.”
Meissner answered a participant’s question about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the design of the classrooms and the overall look of the building.
“The pandemic had a profound effect on a lot of our conversations about the
AV and the technology that is in every single one of those classrooms,” Meissner said. “The pandemic and how we have to be equipped to deliver content of classes very much affected the specifics of this building.”
Meissner said the building will receive its temporary certificate of occupancy Oct. 28, 2022.
“The goal is to open this building to the university to start teaching classes in it in the Spring of 2023,” he said.