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Facilities Management Stays Ahead of Campus Growth Curve

North Campus Innovation District, Green Spaces Highlight Summer Punch List

Students walk through the North Campus quad Photo by Ed Brennen
Students walk through the new North Quad, where the addition of a four-story pod behind Southwick Hall has made buildings more accessible.

By Ed Brennen

When students returned to campus this fall, they noticed some significant changes to their surroundings. 

On South Campus, an inviting lawn now extends from Coburn Hall to the O’Leary Learning Commons. On North Campus, more green grass has replaced a parking lot in the quad behind Southwick Hall, which is now fully accessible. And across University Avenue, the first floor of Lydon Library has been reimagined as the Lydon Thinker Space, which will soon connect to the nearly completed Pulichino Tong Business Center.

Those are just some of the most visible capital improvement projects undertaken this summer by the Facilities Management Department, which strives to address the university’s continued growth by renewing, modernizing and right-sizing campus facilities.
Here’s a closer look at some of the projects, starting on North Campus:
The first floor Lydon Thinker Space Photo by Ed Brennen
The new Lydon Thinker Space will soon connect to the Pulichino Tong Business Center.

Pulichino Tong Business Center: With the exterior of the $47 million building all but complete, substantial progress was made on the interior of the future home of the Manning School of Business, which is on track to open in time for finals in spring 2017. The 54,801-square-foot building will feature 10 new classrooms, faculty offices, a trading room and an open atrium that will include a suspended stock ticker. “We are making fast progress and are looking to substantially complete the building in January 2017,” says Project Manager Rupinder Sembhi, who adds that it will then take several months to commission the building before move-in.

Lydon Thinker Space: Part of the PTB project included renovation of Lydon Library’s 11,500-square-foot first floor. The new “Thinker Space” includes open study areas, a reconfigured library help desk and modern conference rooms. The space will connect PTB to the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, forming an “innovation district” to promote interaction between business and engineering students, as well as convenient access to DifferenceMaker Central.   
Cumnock International Center: The second floor of Cumnock Hall was remodeled to become the Cumnock International Center, the 4,125-square-foot new home of the International Students and Scholars Office and Navitas. Project Manager Marta Kabalin says the biggest change was converting the former Trustees Room into a working office space for multiple staff members. The ISSO (which includes eight staff members and two student employees) and Navitas (which includes 13 staff members and one student employee) were previously located at the Wannalancit Business Center. Institutional Research and Reporting, in turn, moved to Wannalancit, allowing its current space in the basement of Cumnock Hall to be converted into a half-dozen new faculty offices and workstations.
The new Cumnock International Center Photo by Ed Brennen
The ISSO and Navitas can now be found on the second-floor Cumnock International Center.

North Quad pods: Work was completed on one of the two pods that make up the $19 million North Quad renewal infrastructure project. The four-story pod inside the North Quad is now open, providing improved accessibility, utility infrastructure and amenities at Southwick, Pasteur, Kitson and Falmouth halls. Greenscaping and sidewalks were also completed inside the quad, providing a new outdoor area for students, faculty and staff to enjoy. The project’s second pod, a three-story addition behind Falmouth and Kitson halls, is scheduled to open in October. 
Olney Science Center: A new vestibule was constructed on the building’s north entrance, facing the North Campus bus stop. In addition to improving accessibility with a graded ramp, the climate-controlled vestibule will be a welcome addition for students waiting for a bus during the winter. At nearby Pinanski Hall, meanwhile, an accessible restroom and women’s restroom were added to the first floor.
University Crossing Provost Suite: With new Provost Michael Vayda joining the university in June, the Office of the Provost moved from Cumnock Hall to the fourth floor of University Crossing (Suite 480). Three Vice Provosts and five administrative assistants are also located in the new space.
The exterior of the Pulichino Tong Business Center Photo by Ed Brennen
The Pulichino Tong Business Center is on track to open in spring 2017.

South Campus: In addition to the completion of the South Campus Mall, the mezzanine reading area at the O’Leary Learning Commons was expanded. At Durgin Hall, meanwhile, new desks were added to several classrooms to create more efficient workspaces for students and their instruments. At Sheehy Hall, the security desk and mailroom were reconfigured. And in August, solar panels were installed on the roof of the South Parking Garage as part of the university’s $26 million Accelerated Energy Project.

Athletics: At the Campus Recreation Center, the indoor track was resurfaced. At the Tsongas Center, the hockey team’s locker room was updated, as was the visiting team’s locker room at Costello Gym.

Looking ahead: Preliminary work is underway on the addition of two new elevators at Fox Hall. The $18 million project, which is slated to be complete in fall 2017, will increase the number of elevators at the university’s biggest residence hall from three to five and cut wait times by more than half. Also on East Campus, demolition is scheduled to begin soon on the former A.H. Notini & Sons warehouse, located across Aiken Street from the Campus Rec Center. Plans call for the creation of the Aiken Fields complex, which will include soccer fields and tennis courts for student use.