Boston College Master Plan


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Jun 11, 2006
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I searched for the old thread, but i think it got lost when the forum went caputz. Anyways, the much hyped master plan for BC has debut(although i can't find renderings).

Boston College released its strategic campus Master Plan for the first time to the general community yesterday, concluding months of planning, assessment, and discussion from administrators, faculty, staff, students, government officials, and neighbors.

The plan looks to support BC's seven academic directions, heighten the University's national prestige, and reshape the landscape of Main Campus. It marks the most ambitious construction project in BC's history.

"In July of a year ago, we engaged the firm Sasaki Associates, a nationally recognized campus planning firm, to help develop a campus master plan to support the strategic directions that we set for ourselves ? and also to help us devise ways of incorporating the land bought from the archdiocese into Boston College, so that there's a greater sense that we're one campus," said University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.

BC's strategic vision will bring unprecedented structural development to campus. Edmond's Hall will be replaced by a state-of-the-art recreational complex, said Leahy.

According to the plan, a much-anticipated student center will be constructed on the current site of the Plex and the Mods.
How BC has grown over the past decade

The University expects all of the Mods to be torn down within eight to 10 years. Leahy said the Board of Trustees will vote for final approval of the plan later this month.

According to the plan, a new dining facility and humanities center will be built on the current site of the McElroy Commons parking lot along College Road, creating a new quadrangle in the Dustbowl.

"McElroy is eventually going to go away, and Carney will be renovated," said Leahy, evoking laughter and applause from the audience. McElroy is slated to be replaced with a new academic building. The Middle Campus, the current academic heart of BC, he said, will retain its signature Gothic style of architecture. "We're looking at a campus plan that tries to have a seamless as possible feel for Boston College," said Leahy. "We want to build around quadrangles as one of our organizing principles."

The 800 beds in the doomed Edmond's Hall will be replaced with 400-person residence halls on Shea Field and near More Hall, overlooking Commonwealth Avenue. St. Thomas More Drive will be rerouted to the east side of More Hall, according to the plan.

BC hopes to relocate the McMullen Museum of Art from its current location in Devlin Hall to a newly constructed building on the north side of Commonwealth Avenue. The new museum will have a 1,000- to 1,200-person auditorium attached to it, said Leahy.

Taking advantage of BC's prime location on Commonwealth Avenue, the designs shift the T station to the median in the center of the street, said Leahy.

The University hopes to build a modern sky bridge linking the new residence hall and museum, creating an impressive entrance to the University.

Brighton Campus will become home to new baseball fields, parking structures, tennis courts, an indoor track, and a conference center, according to the plan.

Academic Vice President Bert Garza said BC's accomplishments in the past 10 years have laid the groundwork to its successful growth in the future.

BC's upward trajectory, he said, will propel the University to becoming one of the world's best universities in the next 50 to 70 years.

Garza cited the nearly 40 percent increase in applications in the last 10 years, the drop in the acceptance rate, and a swell in financial resources.

"We have the potential to be one of the great universities of the world," said Garza. These gains, said Garza, resulted in BC's six-rung jump in the rankings to 34th in the country.

The presentation comes on the heels of the University's inclusion in Newsweek's list of the 25 "New Ivy" schools.
"We're looking at a campus plan that tries to have a seamless as possible feel for Boston College ... All of us share in a responsibility to BC's future."

Leahy said that this plan will require the largest fundraising campaign in the University's history.

He said that the generosity, support, and enthusiasm of BC's alumni and friends are "critical" to making this plan a reality.

The University, which is committed to maintaining need-blind admission and meeting full financial need, cannot rely on the endowment and tuition to fund the new plan, he said.

"We won't have any number to announce for the campaign goal for a while," said Leahy.

Although more than 90 percent of people surveyed said that BC provided an excellent education, only about 25 percent of alumni give back to the University, said Leahy.

While BC falls in the middle range of alumni giving in higher education in America, Leahy said the community needed to do more.

"All of us share in a responsibility to BC's future," he said. "We have to convince them that BC needs their help, ideas, energy, and financial resources.

"We also have to do a better job of communicating the possibilities if they help us with our plan," he said. "We need to convince more of our alumni and other supporters that we cannot be a stronger, greater university without their help."

Garza emphasized that the campus plan's structural changes are grounded in BC's Jesuit mission.

"This bold future will be meaningful if we successfully address three goals: that we strive relentlessly for academic excellence, build a strong scholarly community that embraces students, staff, and faculty, and remain committed to the development of the whole person," said Garza.

Some renderings and details about Boston College's new Campus Master Plan. I love this plan for Comm Ave. The street level retail will be awesome. Can't wait to see this happen in 47 years or so.


Commonwealth Avenue | A view to the west from above Commonwealth Avenue beside the main entrance to the Brighton Campus. A pedestrian bridge connects residence halls on the Lower Campus and a network of museum and fine arts buildings on the Brighton Campus. The proposed mixed-use development on Commonwealth Avenue includes retail at street level and office or residences above. The Boston College T stop has been relocated to a mall at the center of Commonwealth Avenue, and the new extension of St. Thomas More Drive opens on the near left. Sasaki Associates
I love that rendering. It is unfortunate that there is a cemetery next to moore hall, eliminating the chance of more development all the way down comm ave. Irregardless, I (a bc student) don't expect to see any of this happen at my time here.

Also, is comm ave wide enough to support a t station that wide, as well as that many lanes.
palindrome said:
Also, is comm ave wide enough to support a t station that wide, as well as that many lanes.

That was one of my first thoughts, too. I'm sure they did all their homework before proposing such a change, though. Also, since they own the land on both sides of the street there, I suppose it isn't much of an issue anyway.
I love the lack of the T power supply lines. Makes it look much better than it will look when those power lines go up. But they still managed to put the power chord thingies coming up from the T... :)

If BC wanted to, it looks as if they could copy BU and have 3-4 stops on the B line

Heres what i feel they could do

Yellow: Current stop
Red: New stop
Blue: New turnpoint
BC yard would be kept for storage (ala resevoir) while the new BC west stop would be a simple track switch (ala cleveland circle)
I don't think it would make much sense to extend the last stop any further than where it is currently.
It would serve the campus better as well as newly serving the residential area next door. The street is plenty wide for this -- in fact, streetcars used to go all the way out to what's now Route 128 in the grassy median.
Ron Newman said:
It would serve the campus better as well as newly serving the residential area next door. The street is plenty wide for this -- in fact, streetcars used to go all the way out to what's now Route 128 in the grassy median.

You think thats something the residents there would be happy about? I'm almost 100% sure they'd be in opposition to it.

I don't think it would be worth it anyway. Its less than a 5 minute walk from the BC T stop to the farthest dorm on Comm Ave. They have the shuttle service at BC too.
Other than the Riverside line, Newton is not well-served by the T. For many years a bus ran along the former route of the streetcar on Comm. Ave., but it's now gone too. Newton Nexus Bus was a weak attempt to make up for the T's lack of local service. Any streetcar extension would help.
bowesst said:
Ron Newman said:
It would serve the campus better as well as newly serving the residential area next door. The street is plenty wide for this -- in fact, streetcars used to go all the way out to what's now Route 128 in the grassy median.

You think thats something the residents there would be happy about? I'm almost 100% sure they'd be in opposition to it.


Why would they? Half the strecth I marked (the left side) is owned by BC, and theyd like it. Why would the house on the right of the line dislike it? The room is there, and I propose that cars continue to be stored at the current BC yard, nothing new added except a small stretch of track.
BC had better like such an extension, because the only way it would ever become a reality would be if they were to foot the entire bill and provide space within their campus for it. There is almost no market for such an extension (most new trips would probably be for intra-BC travel), there would need to be facilities constructed at the turnaround for drivers' breaks, and its likely that another Green Line trainset would need to be purchased in order to maintain existing frequency during rush hour, further increasing the project price tag.
The T does not need to be changed at all, (talking about adding stops, not about moving the current stop up) as the bus service is more than enough, and B line is slow as it is. That, as well as the fact that alot of fellow students i have talked to refuse take (see: pay) for outbound service now.

Any money siphoned for transit, would most likely go towards improving the current bus service. There have been talks of adding GPS to the buses to make them more scheduled, and give students the ability to check locations. This, as well as adding a bus or too would greatly decrease the need for the T along comm ave to chestnut hill ave.
There is a HUGE crane erected near the BC campus. I couldn't get in for a closer look, but does anybody know what this is for?
Yes, they are renovating Gasson Hall (the tallest building on campus). The renovation includes a completely new polished exterior stone, which requires them to take down parts of the tower to make molds, and then the new stone will be put into place. I think they are doing this for 90% of the exterior right now.

Also, in the campus newspaper, they said they want to have the first building of the master plan complete within three years. (This would be the on on middle campus between lyons and mcelroy.
I noticed it also Monday evening from my rooftop. I have pic but do not know how to post. I was hoping someone else would have an idea of what it was. From Cleveland Circle it was beyond Gasson Hall and towers much higher over it.
oops didn't see the latest post before mine. It looks like the crane is way beyond Gasson Hall from my vantage point..anyway, thanks!
sure np.

Here's the article for those interested.

Bells toll on Gasson Tower as work begins
By: Christopher Maroshegyi
Posted: 4/26/07

As students rush from the comfort of their beds or the sunny refuge of the Dustbowl to catch their classes just on time, many will notice the eerie silence that will soon replace the sound of Gasson Hall's bells as a major renovation of the historic building picks up steam. The first phase of the renovation, which began last week and is scheduled to be completed in November 2008, is a multimillion dollar effort to provide Gasson's aging exterior with a much-needed facelift.

Built in 1913, Gasson's exterior stone elements have taken a beating from Mother Nature and its continual use as the centerpiece of BC's campus, requiring construction crews to replace nearly all of Gasson's decorative cast stones, including the entire top portion of the tower.

The first phase of construction will focus mainly on Gasson's 200-foot bell tower. Crews will attempt to replicate Gasson's original look and feel by meticulously removing each cast stone and replacing them with new, exact-replica stones. All four spires and other decorative pieces on Gasson Tower will be completely removed during the process, leaving the tower without its trademark top until new pieces are created and shipped back to BC. Once removed, the stones will be measured and a mold will be created to replicate the original stone. The new stone will be created, shipped to BC, and placed in its original location. In the end, 95 percent of Gasson's exterior cast stones will be replaced, while only 1 percent of the relatively healthy pudding stone - the characteristic stone one sees throughout the BC campus - will need replacement.

Gasson's bells - the bells that ensure that thousands of students arrive to class on time - will be silenced during the renovations to accommodate construction crews. Pending on the status of construction, the bells may toll in the winter months when construction crews are not working on the tower.

In preparation for the delicate and complicated project ahead, officials spent months investigating the tower's condition, rappelling down the sides of Gasson last year and recording information about each individual stone with tablet PCs. "Every piece was measured and has been looked at. It's unbelievably precise," said John Ro?meo, the capital construction director.

Among the hurdles in completing the planning phase was locating a masonry firm that could replicate Gasson's original look. Only a few firms in the United States exist today that could produce the quality of stone produced for Gasson at the turn of the 20th century, as Gothic style architecture is rare in recently constructed buildings.

During the planning period over the summer, Jacob Mycofsky, project manager for the renovations, and other BC officials ran multiple sound tests to ensure minimal noise disruption during class periods. "We located areas of the building which are most vulnerable to noise and addressed it as best as we can," said Romeo.

Recognizing the importance of Gasson as an iconic symbol on campus, construction will be halted during commencement as well as study and final exam periods. "We will try to make this the best we can during commencement. We will try to make it as normal as possible for graduation," said Mycofsky.

"Gasson is showing wear, and it needs to be done. We don't want to wait until we have to rebuild instead of restore. We are trying to be proactive," said Ro?meo. "The crucial time [for this project] is now while the weather is something we can work with." Because of the nature of the project, renovation will not occur during the cold winter months, giving crews a small window of time to finish by next November.

Romeo stated that officials are constantly keeping their eye on the structural status of BC buildings, with Bapst Hall, Devlin Hall, and Fulton Hall, among others, slated to undergo similar assessment in the next year.

During construction, the western portion of Gasson will be closed to the public. In future weeks, further scaffolding will be placed around Gasson as a large crane is erected to dismantle the tower.

If all goes according to plan, Mycofsky and Romeo hope to complete the first phase of renovation by the end of next year, after which the scaffolding, fences, and crane will be fully dismantled. No estimated date for the start of the second phase of renovation, which will address the lower portions of the building in the same manner as the tower, has been set thus far. Once finished, Romeo hopes to have Gasson in its original condition, donning the same pristine stone color as Higgins Hall and the other new buildings on campus.

Despite the project's small size compared to the upcoming Master Plan, which will cost the University nearly $1 billion and transform the BC campus, the Gasson project represents one of the most ambitious renovation projects in the nation. "This project is one of the largest cast stone projects in the United States," said Romeo.