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A New Look for the Quad

Under construction all summer, the new-look Gasson Quad opened to pedestrian traffic last week. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Sept. 5, 2013

New and returning members of the Boston College community strolled through a refurbished Gasson Quad last week, following the completion of a summer-long makeover of the area between Gasson, Lyons, Fulton and Devlin Halls.

The renovation — among the more high-profile of recent and ongoing campus construction projects — entailed replacing the Quad’s network of paths and its central hub with a diagonal north-to-south walkway, and leveling the area’s grade to provide improved pedestrian traffic flow and better outdoor function space. The new Quad features a central open space, with flowering trees and seat walls around the perimeter.

Vice President for Facilities Management Daniel Bourque praised Quad project workers for dealing with with a tight construction site, and the unexpected location and elevation of existing utilities in the construction zone, in their efforts to finish in time for the academic year.

“Sometimes you simply run into issues you don’t expect, such as finding utility duct banks or drainage systems not where they were thought to be,” explained Bourque. “But the team was able to work around it — such as by changing some of the grades — and everyone did a great job. And the result is a very attractive, and more usable, open space.”

 Meanwhile, the St. Mary’s Hall renovation project made good progress over the summer and remains on schedule for reopening in December of 2014, said Bourque. Work continues on the roofing, he said, and about 3,800 of approximately 13,800 stones have been installed on the exterior of the building; rough mechanical, plumbing, electrical work and framing continues on the interior.

This fall will see the completion of the roof tiles and the installation of the new windows.

St. Mary’s, which houses the Boston College Jesuit community, will also be the new location for the Communication and Computer Science departments and the Woods College of Advancing Studies.

Other construction projects of note:

• A $3 million renovation to general chemistry and analytic chemistry teaching labs in the Merkert Center, including additional technology and seating, and improved sightlines.

• New lounges in Williams and Rubenstein residence halls; Rubenstein also received corridor lighting and fire safety upgrades.

• Installation of a chiller and dehumidifier on the Conte Forum roof, which will provide air conditioning to the main forum area, lobby, main concourse and Power Gym.

• New furniture and reconfiguration for the McElroy Commons lobby. The row of vending machines that lined the lobby’s wall are now located in the adjacent corridor, said Bourque: “The idea was to give the lobby more of a welcoming impression, and have it be more of a space for relaxation and conversation.”

In addition, the installation of a statue of St. Thomas More on Newton Campus is planned for early in the fall semester, Bourque said. The foundation for the statue, and a surrounding plaza, has been largely completed outside the campus’ Law Library building.