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BU spends $70 million on summer construction projects, renovations

Construction takes place on Commonwealth Avenue outside of the College of Fine Arts, one of many campus renovations this summer. PHOTO BY MICHELLE KWOCK/DFP STAFF

Boston University spent about $70 million this summer in new construction and campus renovations, university officials said.

The $70 million summer budget, spread across campus on a variety of construction projects and renovations, is only a small portion of the recent building budget.

“BU has built [more than] two billion dollars worth of new construction over the past 20 years,” Riley said, “making it the most extensive period of construction in the university’s history.”

The major projects over this summer include the Center for Student Services, nicknamed the “GS2” by students, the School of Law tower, Mugar Memorial Library’s relocated entrance, the renovation of the former Hillel House and the New Balance Field, said BU spokesman Colin Riley.

“It’s going to be a tremendous improvement,” Riley said.

The Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road cost about $50 million dollars to build.

“Our completing and preparing the building has been going well, but not without a few manageable hiccups along the way,” said Walt Meissner, the associate vice president for operations, in an email to The Daily Free Press.

The only major construction issue remaining is the installation of the green roof, which should be completed by the end of August.

Then, the fence and cranes will disappear and the building will become fully operational, Meissner said.

The Center for Career Development and Educational Resource Center, College of Arts and Sciences advising units as well as the Writing Center and student leadership units have moved into the building.

Dining services have been testing equipment and training employees for weeks and are ready to serve students when they arrive, Meissner said.

The new East Campus hub is “all on track to be fully operational this fall,” he said.

The School of Law tower, recently declared an historical landmark, is preparing for a facelift as well, Riley said.

The tower will undergo “an addition, expansion and major renovation,” he said.

Final design plans and approval are underway for the School of Law renovations and, with Trustee consent, the construction will begin in 2013, said Gary Nicksa, the senior vice president for operations, in an email.

In preparation for the Law renovations, Mugar Memorial Library’s entrance was relocated inside the GSU Link building.

The former Hillel House, attached to The Castle, is undergoing a serious transformation to become the new Admissions Reception Center, making it “more central to campus,” Riley said.

Despite the benefits of the move for the admissions office from its previous location at 121 Bay State Road, Riley said the “general accessibility is less than desirable.”

The new Admissions Reception Center will be located at 233 Bay State Road, will have a new auditorium that will seats 180 people and will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

There will be parking specific to the admissions building, replacing the Bay State Road street parking that already exists for visitors.

At Rich Hall of West Campus, BU’s construction crew is wrapping up a renovation that includes dorm rooms, the first floor lounge, cinema room and game room, Nicksa said.

Further down the Charles River sits what will soon be New Balance Field. The new athletic facility, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, will cost $24 million, Riley said. The field will be built on Babcock Street near Nickerson Field. Construction on the new facility started over the summer with the relocation of an underground storm drain.

“New Balance donated $3 million dollars, and we received other sizable donations from alumni,” Riley said, disclosing that without the generous donation from New Balance, BU would not be able to pay for the new field.


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