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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Campus Center Move Delayed

Boxes stuffed with papers and office equipment are piled high in offices across campus.

Many students and staff, including Student Life and The Mass Media, expected to be settled in and unpacked by now, since the move into the brand new Campus Center was scheduled for last week.

But word slowly spread that it wasn’t happening. So the boxes continue to sit, and students and staff continue to work around them.

The state Department of Public Safety has yet to issue an occupancy permit for the building. The six-story building is on its second temporary occupancy permit, meaning that furniture and fixtures can be put in, but not people.

“It’s not that the building’s not occupy-able,” said Joyce Morgan, director of student life, who’s coordinating the move with students from Wheatley Hall’s fourth floor to their new digs on the second and third floors of the Campus Center. “Until it’s done, with no questions, we can’t take occupancy.”

Anne Devaney, director of the Campus Center, said that currently they’re installing new furniture, computer and phone lines into the building, as evidenced by the multitude of sample chairs that cram her already small office.

“We may have to shorten the time frame from the beginning of the move to the end of the move,” she said, “so that it might be a little more intense over that time period, but we don’t anticipate having to change the end time.”

Mentioning that holidays have a way of interfering, Devaney added, “We’re close, we’re close.”

Even after the occupancy permit is obtained, a week to ten days is going to be needed to make sure all the people are “on the same page.”

Estimates of when the permit will come through and the move can commence vary. Some say several weeks, others say the middle of the semester.

Kevin Flanagan, deputy director of the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM), a state agency which is managing the construction process, said the permit will be issued sometime next month.

Flanagan said he had checked with the project manager, and stated that several issues had been identified that don’t affect building safety. One is a handicap railing issue, another is a handicap parking space.

“The building is essentially completed,” he said, adding that they were working with the contractor to get a laundry list of things needed to move ahead. It’s more of contractual issue right now, he said.

Some students are already beginning to chafe against the delay, especially those who will be in the second floor’s student media section-The Mass Media, the Yearbook and The Watermark. The Mass Media puts out a newspaper every week, and The Watermark, UMass Boston’s annual literary arts journal, is in the middle of putting together their 2003-2004 edition. Others are citing a lack of communication between students and the higher-ups.

“I think people are anxious to move in and get started,” Morgan said, but everybody knows that it’s a big building and if there are delays, everybody moves with them.”

Until then, tours will be held for those who are interested, some taking place during opening week. Disabled staff and students will have a chance, for the first time, to tour the place and their offices, in the building’s only working elevator.

A grand gala opening on April 26 is being planned to celebrate the construction of the Campus Center, the first new building on campus in twenty years. Grammy winner Judy Collins will be performing, and alumni Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Reverend Kathleene Card, wife of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, are to be honored. UMass Board of Trustees Chair Grace K. Fey and Trustee Robert Mahoney are event chairs. Tickets will cost $250.