Boston College football is one step closer to joining its brethren in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Last Thursday, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved the University’s plans for an indoor practice facility adjacent to Alumni Stadium. The facility, also labeled by BC as a field house, will serve to replace the bubble as BC Athletics’ primary practice space during the winter months. The field house will be 115,700 square feet, where Shea Field is currently located. It is one of three primary projects related to BC Athletics that has been announced over the last year, the other two being the replacement for the Flynn Recreation Complex and the Brighton Athletic Fields, where baseball and softball are scheduled to move by the 2018 season. The total cost for the three projects will be around $200 million.
The field house will have a turf field on which football can practice, as well as a weight room that will double the size of the current ones in the Yawkey Athletic Center and Conte Forum. There will be a direct connection underneath the Beacon Street Garage straight to the field house. In addition, a formal outdoor practice field will be built next to the indoor practice facility. The bubble will likely still be used as an auxiliary space along with the field house. The full specifications of the plans were provided to the Boston Business Journal.
BC intends to begin construction for the indoor practice facility after Commencement 2017. The project ideally will be completed by July 2018, according to Vice President of Governmental and Community Affairs Thomas J. Keady, Jr. The project, Keady said, will not be delayed by the departure of Director of Athletics Brad Bates, whose contract runs out in June 2017.
The next step for the field house, Keady said, is to seek approval with the Boston Zoning Commission, which is a department of the BPDA. That will require a map amendment under the Boston zoning code, the meeting time for which is undetermined but will likely take place during the third week of April.
“Once that is approved by the Zoning Commission and the city of Boston, then we’ll be able to provide for the permitting for the practice facility,” Keady said.
Keady said that, since the indoor practice facility was not part of the original Institutional Master Plan in 2009, members of the University met with neighbors, the City of Newton, and other local officials in order to push the plan through. The Allston-Brighton Task Force approved the new plan on Oct. 25, 2016, following the successful vote on the Brighton Athletics Complex on Sept. 7 of the same year. This plan included a potential plan for the field house along with undergraduate housing on that part of campus. Undergraduate dorms had initially been part of the plans for the Shea Field site—however, the plans presented to the BPDA had only the field house and one outdoor practice field. Nevertheless, all of Athletics’ major projects over the last year are finally nearing the stages in which construction can begin.
“We’re thrilled that we have three projects in the last year done,” Keady said.
The plan for the indoor practice facility was announced last February, one of Bates’ final major moves as AD. BC is currently one of only two programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference that does not have an indoor practice facility for football, the other being the University of Miami.
Featured Image Courtesy of Boston College Athletics