By Ed Brennen
There’s a new name to add to your campus lexicon this fall. The North Campus building formerly known as Pasteur Hall was officially renamed Dandeneau Hall in May, in honor of plastics engineering alum James Dandeneau ’80.
But Dandeneau Hall didn’t just change in name alone: The university completed a $15.75 million renovation of the second, third and fourth floors of the 80-year-old building this summer. The Department of Mechanical Engineering has moved to the second floor, while the Department of Computer Science is now located on the third and fourth floors. The first floor remains home to UTeach and several Civil & Environmental Engineering offices.
According to Mechanical Engineering Chair Chris Niezrecki, the new space will bring together faculty members previously scattered across North Campus.
“It will foster collaboration and make it easier to work together,” says Niezrecki, who notes that most mechanical engineering classes will still be held in Ball, Kitson and Falmouth halls.
The Dandeneau Hall renovation was among several major Facilities Management projects around campus this summer. Others include:
- The Cumnock Marketplace, which will welcome students in September as a place to grab a bite to eat or spend time between classes on North Campus. Located in the former Cumnock Hall auditorium, the stylish new marketplace will offer breakfast items including pastries, bagels and coffee in the morning and grab-and-go meals during lunch – similar to the South Campus Marketplace on the second floor of the McGauvran Center. Outside Cumnock Hall, work continues on converting the parking lot into a new Cumnock Courtyard, which is scheduled to be completed in December. As part of the courtyard project, three trees were removed from the building’s front lawn in July.
- Perry Hall, which is undergoing a $50 million renovation that will transform the 66-year-old building into a modern facility for academic research, teaching and industry partnerships. Scheduled for completion in early 2019, the project includes a new main entrance facing the Cumnock Courtyard and the addition of a fourth floor, which will add 5,600 square feet of space to the building’s existing 47,825 square feet. The renovation will create flexible labs in disciplines central to the Massachusetts economy, including biomedical, chemical and environmental engineering, as well as biomanufacturing and clean energy.
- Coburn Hall, which closed in May so renovation and expansion work could begin on the once and future home of the College of Education. The $44 million project, which is slated to be complete in 2020, includes plans for an addition on the back of the South Campus building to provide more classroom and office space, as well as direct access to the lower level.
- The replacement of the Pawtucket Street canal bridges, a project that’s being run by the city of Lowell and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – but one that will impact traffic on campus over the next two years. On East Campus, the bridge over the Northern Canal was closed to automobile traffic in August, although it will remain open to pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the bridge reconstruction. The portion of Pawtucket Street between Aiken Street and Fox Hall has become a two-way road, while the East Campus bus stop (across from Fox Hall) has been permanently relocated to the traffic circle in front of the Campus Recreation Center.
“Renewing and modernizing existing facilities such as Dandeneau Hall is an important way for the university to rightsize our growing campus for today – and for the future,” says Joanne Yestramski, senior vice chancellor for finance, operations and strategic planning. “Optimizing these facilities helps support academic success, entrepreneurship and research, while at the same time addressing critical deferred maintenance issues.”
Back at Dandeneau Hall, the new mechanical engineering floor includes 37 faculty offices, a 36-seat classroom, two small conference rooms, a kitchen and four seating areas designed for gathering and collaboration.
“It’s a really nice space,” Niezrecki says of the renovations, which gutted the building down to its original wood beams and brick. “We’re excited to be there.”
For computer science, the third floor of Dandeneau Hall includes 34 faculty offices, a 36-seat classroom, four meeting rooms and three gathering areas, as well as a kitchen. On the fourth floor, there are five research labs, two computer teaching labs, a drop-in computer lab and a systems research lab. For robotics, there is a research lab, a teaching workshop and a teaching lab. The floor also includes an open lounge area and gathering space, as well as an office suite for the department’s information technology team.
Computer Science Chair Haim Levkowitz notes that the department’s undergraduate enrollment has doubled in the last five years, while the faculty has grown by more than 50 percent.
The Computer Science Department was previously located on the second and third floors of Olsen Hall. This December, Facilities Management will begin a $12 million gut renovation of those floors. Plans call for the second floor to be converted to 31 faculty offices for the Department of Biological Sciences, along with conference rooms and collaboration spaces. On the third floor, seven new classrooms, a 75-seat team learning room and study and collaboration spaces are in the works.
Dandeneau Hall was originally a one-story structure called the Colonial Avenue Building, which completed the Southwick Quad in 1910. In 1938, three additional floors were added to the building and it was renamed Pasteur Hall in honor of famed French chemist Louis Pasteur. It was originally home to the Chemistry Department and later housed the Manning School of Business.
James Dandeneau, a plastics engineering alum and longtime UML benefactor, returned to campus in May for the building’s dedication ceremony. He is founder, president and CEO of Putnam Plastics, a Connecticut-based plastics extrusion firm that produces catheter assemblies and other medical devices.
“I'm very happy to support the renovation of this classic building. It is special to me because I took several courses here when I was a student and it is a part of the school's history,” Dandeneau says. “The state-of-the-art labs and research facilities being added will give UMass Lowell students hands-on experience with equipment they will likely encounter in the workplace.”