On Nov. 30, The Mass Media went on an exclusive tour to see the developing residence halls for the University of Massachusetts Boston, which are expected to open in Fall 2018.
According to Melynda Davis, director of housing operations, 200 construction workers have been on-site working every day since the beginning of this year to ensure an on-schedule completion.
The project is being completed through and funded by the Public Private Partnership program (P3), Capstone Development Partners. David Morrisey is the construction manager for the residence halls. So far, 62 percent of the residence halls have been completed, according to Morrisey.
The residence hall's substructure has been built from pre-cast concrete piles. According to Morrisey: “These piles were driven between 190 and 230 feet into the ground and bare directly on bedrock.”
The Mass Media has learned that, as of Nov. 30, two bedrooms have been fully completed. According to Davis, the average bedroom include two beds, a bathroom with a sink, closet space (shared between two roommates), and a toilet. Some bedrooms will include a shower.
The unit and lounge windows have been completed as of Nov. 30. The dining and live exterior walls are due to be completed by Dec. 1. All substantial completion and finalizations of the dorms’ stability will be finished by July 15, 2018, while occupancy of students in the five-story dormitory complex will be expected by Sep. 1.
The residence halls have taken 15 years to build: “We considered everything, from planning and researching... and it’s really going to happen,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail DiSabatino at a public forum held in late October.
They will house 1,047 students. Of the early-action applicants, 85 percent have already expressed interest in living in the new dormitory complex: “...This is just the beginning of an enhanced student life experience,” DiSabatino added.
Nick Sweeton, the associate dean for housing and residence life at UMass Boston, said that applications will also be accepted by rising sophomores and upper-class students. However, priority will be given first to freshmen, then to rising sophomores.
Davis said that all amenities will be included for students living in the new dorms: “Students will not be charged additional fees for things like electricity, cable, streaming TV options, or anything like that.” WiFi will also be available all throughout the building. Also, students who receive financial aid can use it for on-campus housing.
Members of the community have expressed excitement for these dorms, but some are skeptical that the residence halls are expected for completion soon.
“I had someone tell me just last week, ‘I’ve been on this campus for 27 years and nothing is ever completed on time, so are you really going to open in the fall?’” said Sweeton. “I can confidently say we’ll be opening next fall.”
Keith Waak, the associate director of Residential Education, will be the one to accept and review these applications. He will also supervise staff. According to Sweeton, there are 31 student-staff members who will be working in the residence halls.
“We’re building this because we believe the students of today and tomorrow at UMass Boston deserve the very best student experience... There will be more opportunities for engagement, for them to be cared for, to be connected, therefore for them to be successful,” DiSabatino said.
Students on campus claim that the construction of these new Res Halls will impact UMass Boston culture on the commuter campus. "It's the beginning of a new era on campus" said Student Trustee Gray Milkowski.
Students who will be living in the residence halls are expected to follow UMass Boston’s general Code of Conduct, according to Davis. A 14-page policy handbook is to be published by the end of December for residents specifically. The Mass Media will have more on the developing story.