Campus Construction to Enter Temporary Lull

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

For the first time in several years, there is almost no construction activity on campus. But the cranes and bulldozers are expected to return next year for the construction of a major complex on the Main Campus' southwest corner.

The only active construction project, the Law School Library on the Newton Campus, is all but completed, according to Vice President for Administration John T. Driscoll. When interior work is finished, campus construction will be in a temporary lull until the first part of the Southwest Corner Project breaks ground in the spring or summer of 1996, pending appropriate city and state approvals, he added.

"There is a considerable amount of planning and discussion involved in the Southwest Corner Project," Driscoll said. "But the people we will be using are very familiar with Boston College and we feel confident they will do a good job for us."

Driscoll had equal praise for the architect and contractors for the Law School Library, Flansburgh and Associates Inc. and Macomber Co., respectively. That project, he said, is ahead of schedule and on budget, and will be ready to open at the beginning of the Law School's second semester, Jan. 8.

"The exterior is substantially completed," Driscoll said. "The tasks at hand now involve the plumbing, electrical fixtures, shelving and interior fitting. We expect to begin moving furnishings on Dec. 1 and the books and materials on Dec. 20."

Once the Kenny-Cottle Library is vacated, Driscoll said, it will become "swing space" for future projects on Newton Campus now under consideration. Eventually, he said, it is slated to hold separate dining facilities for freshmen and law students.

At its Sept. 15 meeting, the University Board of Trustees formally approved the Southwest Corner Project. The architectural firm Tsoi/Kobus and Associates Inc. of Cambridge is designing the complex, and the construction managers are Richard White and Sons, who, Driscoll noted, were also hired for the Alumni Stadium, Fulton Hall and Devlin Hall projects.

The immediate objectives of the project are the construction of a new student center and another building to house the University's humanities programs, Driscoll said. It also includes provisions for an underground parking garage and facilities for the University's computer operations. The University announced the project earlier this year and since then administrators have begun two separate discussions on the project's dimensions.

One series of talks involves a committee chaired by Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella, and includes College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ, Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Duffy, and representatives from other campus offices, the student population and Tsoi/Kobus.

Driscoll is chairing the other round of discussions among Boston College administrators, the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency, Boston and Newton officials, and local neighborhood organizations. This Master Plan Oversight Group met six times over the summer to examine the potential impact of the project on neighborhood traffic and the University's bus system, among other areas, Driscoll said.

He added that once the construction schedule is confirmed, employees will receive information regarding changes in parking availability and campus traffic.

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