At an information session, Boston College administrators briefed members of the University community on the upcoming construction of the new science facility—the future home of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society—and its impact on traffic, parking, and other aspects of campus life. 

Work on the 157,000 square-foot building will begin shortly after Commencement. The facility, slated to open in the late fall of 2021, will be built on the site adjacent to Higgins Hall now occupied by Cushing Hall.

Speaking at the April 30 session were Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Dean Gregory Kalscheur, S.J., Vice Provost for Research and Academic Planning Thomas Chiles, Associate Vice President for Capital Projects Management Mary Nardone, and Senior Construction Project Manager Thomas Runyon, along with Frank Davis, project superintendent for Suffolk Construction.

Among the major takeaways:

Under the project timetable, a lot will happen by the end of 2019.

Cushing is scheduled to be vacated by May 29, Nardone said, with interior demolition taking place during June and July. Demolition of the building will take place from mid-July through September. The details of the schedule for the new building are under development now, she said, but it is anticipated that September will see the start of site preparation, with excavation beginning in October and lasting through December; meanwhile, work on the foundation begins in November.

The expected completion of the foundation next February will be followed by structural steel, exterior walls, interior fit-outs, and the stone façade, Nardone continued. The final construction phase consists of systems commissioning and inspections, ending in late fall of 2021.

Work for the day will be in progress by the time most employees arrive on campus.

The construction hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Both pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be affected in that area of Middle Campus.

At the end of this month, fencing will be installed around the construction site, cordoning off much of the Higgins Green. However, pedestrian access between Devlin, Higgins, Fulton, and McGuinn halls will still be possible during the project. 

Construction vehicles will enter and exit the site via Beacon Street and the Campion/McGuinn gate. A Boston College Police detail will oversee vehicular as well as pedestrian traffic at the site.

Yes, there will be some impact on parking.

Once the fencing is in place, there will be no BC parking in the lot between Cushing, Higgins, and the Service Building. However, permit changes for the Merkert Center and Conte Forum area will help offset the loss of parking spaces; also, the lot on the west side of McGuinn will still be available for use.

Parking will be available on Newton Campus for project contractors, who will use a shuttle service to travel to the work site, so their vehicles will not be on Main Campus. 

It’s liable to be noisy at least some of the time.

Ledge removal is often the most disruptive part of the excavation phase, Davis said, and will entail a fair amount of hammering and pounding—though not blasting, he added. Suffolk Construction and its sub-contractors are committed to monitoring, and mitigating when possible, the impact of work on areas adjacent to the construction site, Davis said. 

Facilities Management wants to keep everyone informed of the project’s progress.

Nardone said there are plans for ongoing construction updates on both a weekly and monthly basis, which will be available via BC News. A webcam link will provide another means to track how the project is going. 

Another information session for the University community will be held in the fall, Chiles noted.

—University Communications | May 2019