Shaun Curry, Director of Project Management in the Facilities Department, was able to sit down for an updated look of the construction on the University of Massachusetts Boston’s campus.
The last email update to the UMass Boston community was Oct. 31, 2019. It talked about new catwalks coming Summer 2020, with the plan to start working on them, as well as demolition of the Science Center and plaza, during Spring 2020.
This work was put on hold as problems with the substructures of Wheatley and McCormack came up while looking at the campus. Curry explained, “So, the first piece of work that's going to begin is actually the structural stabilization under McCormack and Wheatley. That was deemed sort of the most urgently needed work before demolition could begin. So we wanted to get that done.” Curry said that the start date of the demolition is “less known at this point.”
The length of time to complete the initial work of Wheatley and McCormack “will probably take four to six months because it involves putting in new reinforcing walls in some areas and doing concrete repairs and re-bar repairs,” says Curry. He expects the actual demolition of the Science Center and plaza to take until the end of 2020, with finishing everything late 2021.
The dirt pile behind the Science Center will be used for the new quadrangle after the sediments settle down. “There will be a sloping area that will meet up with the current—remaining current—plaza like in front of McCormack so that there will be a very gentle grade, you know, ADA accessible grade up to the main campus buildings: Quinn, Healey, McCormack, and Wheatley.”
After being asked about plans to relocate the greenhouse, Curry stated, “There are still three major functions that are still in the Science Center. The University's data center, the College of Science and Math's machine shop, and the Biology Department's greenhouse. All of them are moving. The data center is moving to a new location in Quinn, the machine shop is moving to a new location in service and supply, we will be moving the greenhouse to a location at grade in front of Healey. So if you know along you drive south there's that open area there, so we will be moving there. We will be relocating the greenhouse to that spot ... We know it's integral to research and to instructions so we know we need to find a place for it and that's work will be done soon, we have a design done for it and it's just a matter it's not good work to do in the winter because you need to dig foundations to make sure it doesn't blow away.”
There is no plan to rebuild a pool or put in place more academic buildings. The majority of departments initially in the Science Center have been relocated to the Integrated Science Complex, Quinn, Wheatley, and McCormack. Nursing was relocated to Quinn. Curry said, “So now, except for those three things, you know, that I mentioned—the Science Center is essentially empty.”
In regards to funding, Curry said, “The funding is split between a capital appropriation from the state of $78 million and then university funding is $75.5 million. So that makes up the $155.5 million for the project. Included in that total is also $41 million in funding for enabling moves to get out of the Science Center so for all of the SDQD [substructure demolition quadrangle development] work right now the budget is $114.5 million and we've been using the state money up front. They provided us that money first so we've been using that money first as we go along.”
This is all overseen by the Gilbane Building Company, which has done work for UMass Boston in the past. They will start rewriting a new master plan for campus construction after this work is done.