A change in the appearance of UMass Boston will be arriving during the upcoming Spring semester. The old Science Building, the Clark Athletic Center pool, and the catwalks connected to the Science Building and McCormack Hall are all receiving a new makeover this spring with the old Science Building and pool being demolished and the catwalks connecting them undergoing construction.
As of the Spring 2020 semester, certain sections of the catwalks will be closed, causing students to find alternative ways of getting to class. In the spring, the sections of the catwalk that will be open during construction will be the catwalk connecting Campus Center and Wheatley Hall, as well as the catwalk connecting Quinn Administration building and Healey Library. The catwalk connecting to the Science building, from Wheatley Hall to McCormack Hall and from McCormack Hall to the Healey Library, will be closed as work to demolish the Science building commences. According to the construction update, “As a temporary measure for the Spring 2020 semester, a covered walkway at the plaza connecting the Campus Center, Wheatley Hall, McCormack Hall, and Quinn Administration building will be installed.” The update also stated, “You should expect less comfort and allow for more time on your walk between buildings, particularly getting to or from Healey Library, which will require traveling through Quinn. We expect the new catwalks to be open in the summer of 2020.”
The demolishment of the old Science Building and Clark Athletic Center pool come as part of UMass Boston’s 25-Year Campus Master Plan that will “address issues in the original campus construction by demolishing and removing these buildings and a majority of the substructure and plaza associated with the Science Building and Pool.” According to information about the 25-Year Campus Master Plan found on the UMass Boston website, the project plans to create a landscaped quadrangle where the old Science Building and stone plaza are. The project plans to move away from the layout the university has now, which is inward-facing layout, and create a more open landscape connecting to the waterfront and other areas around it and allowing students better circulation between buildings. Many of the programs and departments centered in the Science Building have been relocated to other buildings and the start of the demolition will begin in the spring of 2020 with the interior of the building. “The project will begin with the establishment of new catwalk circulation and a phase of soft demolition largely consisting of interior work,” the softer demolition begins this academic year with bulk demolition occurring during the summer of 2020. The expected date for the end of construction is still not clear but it is anticipated to be the end of the 2021–2022 academic year.
With the oncoming demolishment of the old Science Building and pool, UMass Boston Recreation is holding a Quad Construction Student Town Hall on November 7 from 3–4 in the Integrated Science Building room 3300 to get students opinions about what should be done with the space when the Science Building is fully demolished. According to the flyer provided by UMB Recreation, “Learn about places to replace the stone courtyard at the heart of campus with an open, grassy quad that will include recreational facilities. Renderings and drawings will be presented and student feedback will be sought.”