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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Reworking UMass Boston

The UMass Boston Facilities Department has been working on numerous construction projects all summer long while most students have been on vacation. From the elevators in Healey, to new student spaces with more comfortable chairs and couches, to almost all of the outer doors of the Campus Center, the school has been making changes here and there to make UMass Boston more efficient and accessible.

Dorothy Renaghan, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management, clarified that all projects planned for the summer, as well as several that will carry into the fall, directly relate to Chancellor Motley’s future goals for UMass Boston. Motley has two new plans scheduled to begin soon: The Strategic Plan addresses the school’s immediate needs and will be presented in October, and the Master Plan, which covers the physical needs of the campus, is set for presentation in late December.

Renaghan explained that the latter of the two plans hopes to address two questions: Where does the university want to grow and how will students and faculty utilize the area on campus? “We want to acknowledge how the campus is oriented and how other areas on campus play less prominent roles,” Renaghan said.

With these objectives in mind, UMass Boston took full advantage of the less-populated campus. Construction on the roof over the pool next to the Clark Athletic Center began mid-summer. Due to wind gusts from St. Patrick’s Day and Patriot’s Day, some reaching over 50 miles per hour, the roof was in need of repair. The wind blew so strongly underneath the edges of the roof that it lifted the latter off the building to a degree that deemed mending necessary.

Much of the work over the summer was concentrated on the Campus Center. One project that continued from the end of the spring semester was that of the new electronic doors. The original doors had proved too heavy, but the changes also provided the added benefit of efficiency. “We put in vestibule entrances, which are great for saving energy,” Renaghan said.

The restrooms in the Campus Center also gained a lot of attention this summer. Due to a complaint, the school made a number of the bathrooms more handicapped-accessible. Following the changes, it was decided that bathrooms will be placed near the catwalk entrances in every building.

The entrance to the catwalk from the plaza next to the Healey Library has been off-limits during the summer. It is believed by the UMass Boston Facilities Department that several of the supporting pieces of the stairs are not safe for students to be walking on and are planned to be repaired this fall.

Construction has also been taking place within the library. Students will find that the motors in both library elevators, along with the cables and cabs, are in the process of being replaced. Three elevators in the Science building are also being repaired and should be open to all students a week or two after classes begin.

In the fall of 2006, many returning students were disappointed to find the parking garages closed. This semester, however, students will discover more parking available. Though not in concrete shelters, UMass Boston has made efforts to provide at least 200 more spaces on paved surfaces, rather than on a grassy field.

Not only have school officials tried to make parking easier, they have also added automatic gates, and lights and cameras to each parking lot to increase safety.

Parts of Wheatley Hall have also received attention this summer. The Wit’s End coffee shop closed last spring semester, but the space has now been split into two new sections. The Venture Development Area, a new business development center, will take up what used to be the Wit’s End freezer storage space, and the rest of the area will be converted into a student space.

A lounge area on the first floor of Wheatley was created halfway through summer. Just outside of Wheatley, chain link fences have been under the Sofit for months. That area is set to be fixed and open within three months time.

Nursing students will find that a Clinical Education and Research Center is in the works. “It will be a fabulous place for nurses to train,” Renaghan noted.

A full list of this summer’s projects are available on UMass Boston’s web site. Many of the projects are planned to continue through a portion of the fall semester, so be careful of construction areas. Dorothy Renaghan encourages students to voice their ideas for UMass Boston, “[we are] always willling to receive suggestions.” Students can find Renaghan’s email, as well as those of other members of the Facilities Department, through UMass Boston’s web site.