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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Breaking Down the Master Plan

The Master Plan Committee at UMass Boston is currently working on choosing their preferred concept site plan, phase three of four in the committee’s timeline, after holding five public workshops earlier in the semester. They are going to decide on one of the three concept site plans by the middle of November and present it to the UMass Board of Trustees at their Dec. 14 meeting.

Plan one is titled “Reinforcing the Existing Core.” The idea of reinforcing the core revolves around the basic layout that the school has now and is the most minimally invasive plan for the campus. The plan is to keep as much intact as possible and add around campus to reinforce that the structure goes down and new buildings go up to define the “campus quad.” It would add around four new buildings to the campus.

Plan two is “Expanding the Hub,” which includes extending the Campus Center, which is viewed as the focus of the UMass Boston. The view of the campus would be taken away from the giant gas tank, to the eastern shoreline, giving everyone a view of the ocean. Many people consider the Campus Center to be the main part of campus, as it is the first building people are taken to. This plan strengthens that by adding onto the Campus Center itself and placing additional buildings in the spaces to the left and right.

The final plan is “Improving Connections.” This plan gives the campus and the peninsula a different sense of geometry. It provides attempts to get to the water faster and adds in streets and a “student boulevard” to intersect large building-locked areas to make access to the campus easier. This one will add around six buildings to UMass Boston, while extending streets and creating more two-way roads, to ease traffic issues and create more avenues for students to follow.

The goal of each plan is to maximize use of space on and around the UMass Boston campus, add green spaces to the urban area to give it an “urban Harvard Yard” feel and includes dropping the central quad down to ground level, as it is currently two floors above. The addition of on-campus housing, in the guise of a dormitory with 2,000 beds is also in the plan.

Many different factors such as parking, the addition of parks on and around campus, shifting the athletic fields and even the addition of retail spaces are included in the plans designed by Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, the architecture company chosen to help UMass Boston with the Master Plan.

The committee is still looking for community input even though there are no more workshops. A web site will be up in the near future with a link to a feedback form to help the committee and the administration to further develop the plan.

Facilities Improvement AnalysisWhy the Master Plan is important nowThe Master Plan Committee wants the input of the UMass Boston community on what they have planned for the next 5, 10 and 25 years, and beyond. What they are hoping the workshops will do is:? Bring faculty, students and staff, as well as neighbors and constituents together to discuss issues as they regard to the Master Plan? Look at the options for UMass Boston’s alternative campus concepts? To achieve having an open dialogue with several different groups to make the phases responsive and to have the plan process be effective? Educate people on what work has been done over the past several months by the committee? Update where they see the process going forward? Set stage for future work; as it is a very complex process, from planning and implementation, the Master Plan Committee want people to see what is involved and to buy into it, so as the committee moves forward that they feel they are going in the right direction? As part of the first phase of the Master Plan, an evaluation of the UMass Boston campus was necessary. It compared the cost of repairing and upgrading each building on campus to the projected cost of replacing the building. The final results found that the repair costs for individual buildings came close to, or exceed, the replacement cost of the buildings.

? Some of the buildings more cost effective to take down instead of remodel, which is a potential issue: “It’s a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity,” Sue Wolfson said. “It’s an opportunity to remake the campus […and] as we move forward and look to build new academic buildings, the other part of this pie is the substructure. […] We looked at how much it would cost to actually bring the garage and substructure back to its original function, and the number is staggering-it’s $190 million to restore it to what it was originally designed for. That didn’t make sense from a financial perspective, to put $190 million into a parking garage and […] leadership thought that that money could be better spent in other ways.”Click any of the images to zoom inReinforce the Core

Expand the Hub

Improve Connections