The Boston Redevelopment Authority voted unanimously Nov. 21 to approve the University's master plan for development on the lower half of campus lying in the Brighton section of Boston. Joining in the endorsement was a neighborhood group, the Allston-Brighton Task Force.
The okay came after 18 months of negotiations with the city and neighborhood activists, with BC pledging to add 800 dorm beds across campus to reduce the number of students living in off-campus apartments.
The extra beds will enable BC to house on campus 85 percent of its undergraduates, a greater percentage than any other college or university in the city.
Other community benefits promised by Boston College included 50 four-year, full-tuition scholarships, with 10 of the need-based awards presented per year over the five years of the master plan.
These scholarships will be awarded to students demonstrating financial need in excess of $10,000, as determined by financial aid forms filed with the federal government. Preference will be given to permanent residents of Allston-Brighton, with any unused scholarships being awarded to Boston residents who are graduates of Boston high schools.
In addition, Boston College will continue the existing 10 scholarship awards annually in the College of Advancing Studies in each of the five years of the master plan.
The way is now cleared for Boston College to proceed with a plan to add needed office and dormitory space.
Associate Vice President for State and Community Relations Paul White welcomed the BRA go-ahead for the expansion project after months at the bargaining table.
"The Boston Redevelopment Authority approval for the Boston College Master Plan is of immense importance and significance on several levels," White said.
"First, it will allow Boston College to provide much needed housing for our students, office space for our faculty and administration, and support facilities for theater arts and athletics.
"Second, it demonstrates Boston College's firm commitment to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for the University while respecting the needs of our host communities.
"Third, it demonstrates the value and power of cooperative discussions between the University and our neighbors.
"All in all, this lengthy process has produced an environment in which Boston College can pursue its historic mission in the 21st century in a way which is faithful to our founding principles and considerate of our neighbors and adjacent communities."
The additional dorm beds promised by BC are to be located in various residence halls on the Chestnut Hill and Newton campuses.
On Upper Campus, 236 new beds will be situated in converted attics in Williams, Welch and Roncalli halls, and in a pavilion being built between Gonzaga and Fitzpatrick halls. Those accommodations are expected to be available by fall 2001. Permission for an additional 130 beds on Upper Campus will be sought from the city of Newton.
On Lower Campus, a new six-story dormitory with 300 beds is to be built next to Vanderslice Hall on land where a utility switch house currently stands. The building is to be finished by fall 2003. Another 150 beds will be located in space now devoted to administrative offices in the Rubenstein, Ignacio and 66 Commonwealth Avenue dorms, and on the Newton Campus, in what is now an infirmary. The clinic will be moved to Cushing Hall on the main campus.
Carved into the hillside east of O'Neill Library will be a five-story building that will house faculty and administrative offices, while providing a venue for social-science research and potential expansion of the library. The building is to be done by 2002.
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