Boston College unveiled a plan last week to expand its campus into 43 acres of Brighton – following the expansion models of Boston University and Harvard University — filling a space that was previously owned by the Boston Archdiocese.
Paul Creighton, executive director of Allston-Brighton Area Planning Action Committee, called the universities’ expansions into Allston-Brighton inevitable.
“It won’t be long before [BU, BC and Harvard] meet in the middle and Allston-Brighton will be one big campus,” Creighton said.
BC administrators purchased the land in 2000 but have only specified development plans recently. An amendment to approve the development is expected to be submitted to the BC Board of Trustees by next year, Creighton said.
At a neighborhood meeting on Saturday, Creighton said that while some residents were surprised and angered over BC’s plan, most were already aware of expansion plans.
“It is next to impossible to have a traditional neighborhood because it’s not conducive to the area,” Creighton added. “I prefer the neighborhood the way it used to be, but it’s just not realistic.”
According to a Feb. 17 article in the Allston-Brighton Tab, BC’s property, previously owned by the Archdiocese, includes the Tribunal building, the cardinal’s residence, a gymnasium and St. Williams Hall, which housed displaced students from New Orleans last year. Administrators also plan to expand faculty housing in the Allston-Brighton area.
Administrators are looking to move a new school of theology into St. William’s Hall and equip the facility with offices, a chapel, a library and classrooms, according to the article.
The plan to build additional student housing in Brighton was among the biggest concerns addressed during community meetings held at BC on Feb 9. Residents were assured that the existing houses in Brighton will be used for “much-needed faculty housing and will remain on the city’s tax roll,” according to the Tab.
Boston Police Sgt. William Fogerty said he does not think the police will change their patrolling routes despite the expansion.
Fogerty added that both BU and BC students have positive and negative influences on the area.
“The students are a great financial pump for realtors, stores, and restaurants,” Fogerty said. “Unfortunately, only their negative actions get the press.”
Last week, Harvard officials announced their plan to build a stem cell institute in Allston, making it the first building on its Allston campus.
BC spokesman Jack Dunn could not be reached for comment.