Constant Construction Has Brought Dorms, Offices, And Outdoor Spaces To Campus

The start of a new semester at Boston College often presents many changes for its students: new dorms, new classes, new clubs and activities. Another change that has greeted students after the long summer break away from BC, however, is the constant construction around campus.

In the past couple of weeks, students returning to campus have probably noticed that St. Mary’s is nearly complete, trees have been added to the Quad, and construction has begun on the new dorm across from St. Ignatius. While some students may complain about the construction that has been present at BC for as long as they’ve been here, a look at past changes to BC’s campus reveals the influence construction has had on life at BC.

For example, in September 1993, sophomores and juniors, after a summer of uncertainty, were able to move into new buildings on Lower Campus. Students moved into what was first called “New Building A,” then named “70 St. Thomas More Drive,” and is now known as “Vanderslice,” but were, according to Mike Hofman, “taken aback by the Saharan-like dust storm that engulfed the Disney-inspired street scene.” Move-in to the other new dorm building, 90 St. Thomas More Drive (a.k.a. “New Building B”) was a little more hectic, as “several first floor residents arrived on Thursday morning only to find painters and work crews in their domiciles.”

During the first few days, both new buildings experienced water problems, telephone service wasn’t installed yet (residents of the new dorms had to trek all the way over to Walsh Hall to place a call), and washers and dryers were not working properly. Despite these setbacks, however, students were excited for the “spaciousness” and “never-before-taintedness” of the new buildings.

Similarly, in September 1994, students returning to campus were met with a newly finished parking garage, but were hoping that construction on Alumni Stadium, Fulton Hall, and “a new BC Law School Library on Newton Campus” could soon be completed.

As student Diana Pisciotta described, Newton freshmen were “disturbed to find the once-green campus filled with construction equipment.” With regard to the revamped Fulton Hall, Karen Crincoli wrote, “student reaction to the new Fulton Hall has been positive.

Many students have been surprised at the appearance and the on-time opening.” Mirroring the thoughts many BC students had upon their arrival, a student who Crincoli interviewed added, “I remember the way it looked last year before we all left. I was surprised to see it nearly completed when I came back. It looks great.”

September 2002 brought forth the new “Faculty and Administration Office Building” on Lower Campus (now known as “Maloney”). BCPD had recently moved into the first floor, and the Hillside Cafe and Hillside Bookstore were slated to open by the end of the month. The plans for the upper floors were not yet complete, however, although the new tenants—including UGBC, the Office of Residential Life, and the departments for theology, history, and economics, among others—had been announced over the summer (and, 12 years later, are currently being replaced with new offices).

Further campus changes included a redesigned Campanella Way, featuring a center island of trees lining the roadway and more parking spaces. Plans were already in place for additional changes upon the construction of the new varsity athletic building to be added to the back of Alumni Stadium. The Higgins Green also replaced the pavement that had sat between Higgins, Fulton, and Cushing the previous semester.

More recently, in September 2013, students were welcomed back to campus with a green O’Neill Plaza and an upgraded O’Neill Library. As part of the University’s Master Plan, the added green space on O’Neill Plaza made up for the space lost from the former Dustbowl.

Students also came back to campus in 2012 to see an almost-finished Stokes Hall, with only exterior limestone work, interior furnishings, and minor landscaping left to be completed before the January-2013 opening of the newest academic building.

Despite the noise and disruptions BC construction projects cause for the students, a look at BC’s past construction history shows what an integral part of life it has become at BC.

Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff

September 7, 2014