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BU submits $1 billion Institutional Master Plan for renovation and development plans for the following decade

Boston University is planning major renovations and potential demolitions during the next ten years in a plan that will cost over $1 billion.

Boston University Board of Trustees submitted the 2023-2033 Institutional Master Plan to Boston Planning and Development Agency on Oct. 28. The plan outlined renovation projects for BU’s campus and student residences that will cost over $1 billion.

Warren Towers
Warren Towers is a residential hall on 700 Commonwealth Avenue. The Board of Trustees of Boston University has proposed a plan for new additions to BU’s campus and renovations of student residences. JENNIFER GAN/DFP STAFF

According to Senior Vice President for BU Operations Derek Howe, the Master Plan is a legal zoning document submitted once every ten years by hospitals, colleges and universities with more than 150,000 square feet of property.

“(The IMP) basically describes our distinct property, future development plan, and what benefits we also provide for the City,” Howe said. “We have now filed the notification form, but there’s still a series of steps that have to happen before the IMP is actually finalized.”

The Plan outlines five larger development projects, which includes renovations in Mugar Memorial Library and Warren Towers, the potential demolition and repurposing of both the Science and Engineering building and College of Communication building, a new 11-story building for the Pardee School of Global Studies and plans in the works for Student Village III.

“I would much rather see funding like this go to the renovation of existing buildings, the increase of quality of living for residential dorms,” Alex Brumfield, a junior in College of Arts and Sciences, said. “The first thing that they need to solve are the issues with their own campus, not adding more parts to potentially have more issues with.”

For Mugar, there would be a “total rehabilitation of the building to bring mechanical systems and library services up to modern standards,” according to the Plan.

“I feel like Mugar is definitely falling apart. We deal with a lot of leaks, we definitely deal with a lot of rat issues,” Emily Flavin, the library’s safety and security assistant, said. “We have the majority of students come to Mugar, but we are the most unrenovated place so it doesn’t really fit.”

By combining small pieces of land along Cummington Mall with the current Science and Engineering building and the COM building, BU is also hoping to create a 16-story Science and Engineering research building.

According to the Plan for Warren Towers, repairs and reconfigurations will be done to the building’s envelope and “studies are underway to develop a scope for the renovation.” The parking and retail spaces on the ground floor are not a part of the project.

“The renovation is going to repair the facade and replace the windows,” Howe said. “It will modernize the bathrooms and the rooms inside, and it will completely air condition the building.”

Kerlin Campos, a freshman in COM who currently lives in Warren Towers, thinks that a new air conditioning system, new decor and renovated bathrooms would benefit the building greatly.

“When we came in, it was like September, and it was still kind of hot,” Campos said. “With no AC, I could barely sleep at night. It was so hot.”

BU is planning to construct another Student Village — StuVi-III — which will be between 33 Harry Agannis Way and 10 Buick Street. The new residence will house up to 523 students and stand 11 stories tall.

Along with these projects, road improvements from Granby Street to Silber Way, a new pedestrian walkway from Central Campus to the Questrom School of Business and some additional landscaping projects will also take place.

BU has submitted the Plan, but there are still a series of steps that need to happen before any construction plans are officially underway.

“Now there’s a series of steps that we go to, back and forth with city officials. We also have to talk with our various community leader groups that are neighbors of the University,” Howe said. “We still need to put forward for each individual project notification forms with the city, which go into a lot more detail about each of those projects.”

 

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