If UMass Lowell had to write a six-word memoir to describe the summer of 2014, it would look something like this:
Busy summer. Many changes. Welcome back.
Construction on the $95 million University Crossing student hub was completed, residence halls were refreshed, classrooms were renovated and constructed, a new stop for shuttle bus service was built on North Campus, ground was broken on the new home for the Manning School of Business and more. As a result, more than 400 faculty and staff members moved into new offices and 20,000-square-feet of classroom space was added. And the upgrades are ongoing.
"The transformation of our campus continues as we implement the vision laid out in our master plan,” says Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Joanne Yestramski. “Our commitment to providing first-rate facilities to our students and faculty is demonstrated in world-class buildings like University Crossing and in the refreshed classrooms, labs and residence halls.”
University Crossing: A New Hub for Student Services
Over the summer, construction wrapped up on University Crossing, the state-of-the-art glass and steel complex that is now the hub of student services and activities and connects the university’s three campuses to the downtown business and cultural district. Located at 220 Pawtucket St., the building is the new home of the River Hawk Shop campus bookstore and the Crossroads Café eatery as well as all student services including Financial Aid, the Registrar, Admissions, Student Activities and Leadership, Student Clubs, Enrollment and Student Success, Career Services & Cooperative Education and Veterans Services. In addition, Health, Disability, and Counseling Services, as well as Health Education, are all housed in the new Wellness Center on the third floor. The Chancellor's office can be found on the fourth floor. There are meeting rooms and space for special events, including the upcoming author series featuring U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will discuss her book “A Fighting Chance” on Sept. 19 and author Piper Kerman, who will chat about and sign copies of her book “Orange is the New Black” on Sept. 30.
The building was designed with energy efficiency and conservation in mind, in keeping with UMass Lowell’s sustainability goals. Environmental impact and energy usage were closely considered in every aspect, from the heating and cooling systems to the furnishings. Sustainable building materials were used wherever possible and a green roof with plant beds was installed to absorb rainwater, provide insulation and reduce effects from heat. To accommodate those who cycle to campus, there are bike racks outside and showers on the first floor.
More, Better Classrooms and Labs
The move of so many departments to University Crossing opened up space across campus. As a result, nearly 20,000 square feet of new classroom space was added in renovated areas in Dugan Hall and Olsen Hall to accommodate the university’s growing student body. Nearly 15,000 square feet of classroom space was updated in Pasteur Hall, Southwick Hall and O’Leary Library and 3,100 square feet of lab space was renovated.
Early summer saw the groundbreaking for the Manning School of Business’s new home at the corner of University Avenue and Riverside Street on North Campus. To be called the Pulichino Tong Business Building, the 52,000-square-foot structure will include a trading room where students can participate in simulated stock trading and conduct research.
Refreshed Residence Halls, Athletic and Recreational Facilities
Students who reside on campus will notice some fresh looks in their living quarters. The $35 million renovation project at Leitch and Bourgeois Halls on East Campus has been completed, several floors at the Inn & Conference Center have been updated and common areas at Donahue Hall on East Campus and Sheehy Hall on South Campus have been refreshed.
At the Campus Recreation Center, new strength equipment has been installed on the first floor. The Costello Athletic Center has undergone renovations including updated locker rooms.
The McGauvran Student Union is closed for renovations and most of the departments and offices that were located there have moved to University Crossing. The Subway restaurant that was in McGauvran can now be found at the South Dining Hall.
New North Campus Shuttle Bus Stops
Over the summer, the university built a new area for the Roadster shuttle bus stops and van service on North Campus behind Olney Hall. Campus shuttles will no longer stop on University Avenue. The move is designed to optimize safety and access for pedestrians and motorists. On South Campus, a visitor parking lot with meters has been constructed adjacent to the Wilder Street faculty-staff parking lot. The visitor lot can be accessed from Bacheldor Street, off Wilder Street. To improve traffic flow around South Campus, the intersection of Pawtucket Street and Broadway is being reconstructed.
Behind the scenes, work to upgrade the campus energy infrastructure continued over the summer. The projects aim to increase energy efficiency and help achieve the university’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050.