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Expanding BC: A Look Inside Mount Alvernia and Brookline Campus

Over the past three years, Boston College has purchased two new properties, Mount Alvernia High School and Pine Manor College, to expand its educational and administrative resources. Heights editors got an inside look at the new campuses. 

Mount Alvernia

BC purchased the former Mount Alvernia High School property in October of this year. The 23-acre property is located at 790 Centre St. in Newton, across from BC’s Newton Campus.

“Tentatively, we’re calling the Mount Alvernia property the Newton East Campus,” University Spokesman Jack Dunn said.

Mount Alvernia, a small property relative to BC’s other campuses, has four central components—the main building, full of classrooms, administrative spaces, and a gym; a garage; a provincial house; and a chapel—according to Dunn.

The Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception announced in March that the school would close after 88 years. The Franciscan Sisters sold the school after its enrollment declined, according to Dunn.

“They were eager to keep it in the hands of a Catholic institution,” Dunn said.

According to Dunn, BC informed the City of Newton about its purchase of the Mount Alvernia property, and Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller expressed her approval. Dunn said the University looks forward to working with the City of Newton as its plans for the Newton East Campus evolve.

Dunn said Mount Alvernia will likely function as an extension of the current Newton Campus. BC has not yet made formal plans for how it wants to utilize the newly acquired property, he said.

“It’s just too early to have a time frame,” Dunn said.

Brookline Campus

BC renamed the former site of Pine Manor College to Brookline Campus, according to Dunn.

“The Brookline Campus is the home of former Pine Manor College, which was in existence for more than 100 years and had been a single-sex, two-year school—all female school—for most of its history,” Dunn said.

Pine Manor College eventually transitioned to become a co-educational two-year college focused on serving underrepresented students. According to Dunn, the school began to experience declining enrollment, threatening its ability to remain open.

Tom O’Reilly, the former president of Pine Manor College, approached BC about integrating the college with the University, and in May of 2020, BC announced plans to absorb Pine Manor. Dunn said O’Reilly wanted to preserve the legacy of Pine Manor, and he appreciated BC’s commitment to fulfilling the needs of underserved students.

“He expressed appreciation that low-income students at BC graduate at the same rate as others,” Dunn said

Aside from full academic facilities and dormitories, the Brookline Campus has an auditorium, library, student activities center, six tennis courts, and a soccer field.

“It’s a pretty impressive campus,” Dunn said. “It’s sprawling.”

By next November, these grounds will be bustling as BC welcomes 100 students to the campus.

The Brookline Campus will become home to Messina College, a two-year residential program for first-generation students to earn associate’s degrees.

“We use the term ‘integration,’ referring to how BC plans to move forward with Pine Manor,” Dunn said.

After absorbing Pine Manor College, BC established the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success, a program comprising four pillars: Mentoring and Academic Achievement; the Academy, a readiness program for students from grades 8 to 12; Messina College; and Alumni Support. 

Students who complete their associate’s degree at Messina College will be eligible to transfer into a bachelor’s program in any of BC’s four colleges, according to Dunn. Students transferring from Messina College will “no question” receive special consideration over other transfer applicants, Dunn said.

November 19, 2023