Over the past two decades, UMass Boston has been growing at a constant rate, and it’s only the start of something special on Columbia Point. Since the initial construction of the Campus Center in 2004, the university has transformed with the building of University Hall, all while further turning away from its reputation as simply a “commuter school” with the introduction of the residence halls in 2018. Since then, the plan for a whole new project has been put in place; the SDQD project, which has been underway since the beginning of the pandemic. Most students will know this project as the construction seen from outside of the back end of Campus Center, and while walking to classes held in McCormack and Wheatley.
Current plans are provided on UMass Boston’s website which, as of right now, include the creation of a 300-space parking lot built alongside a courtyard with walkways to improve walking distance and efficiency between buildings. Moreover, there will be areas in the new plan that would help form community and togetherness between students, such as an outdoor basketball court, a meadow and lawns, all designed for students to hang out and engage with their fellow peers. When all is said and done, UMass Boston also plans to utilize the Bayside Parking Lot and develop it into something else once the new parking lot is made. With the current direction UMass Boston is heading in, it begs the question of whether our school will take a leap and overtake UMass Amherst in becoming the “flagship” UMass school; from the looks of it, the university may be in a great position to do so in the future.
The current position that UMass Boston holds, in addition to the direction that the university is heading towards, can provide a great case as to why making UMass Boston the flagship UMass campus would be a viable option moving forward. UMass Amherst is currently in a better position to stay as the main UMass school, with the inclusion of Division One sports, a huge student population and the largest UMass campus. However, from a logical and futuristic standpoint, UMass Boston has the potential to overtake Amherst in becoming the flagship school in the UMass system; and if not that, then the UMass school system has the potential to have two powerhouse schools in both UMass Amherst and UMass Boston.
The progress that UMass Boston has made to become a more well-rounded university will certainly propel it to the next level of competition among schools in the city of Boston, and even New England as a whole. A lot of that has to do with UMass Boston’s increasingly state-of-the-art campus, and its location just a few stops away from downtown Boston on the Red Line. With the provision of internships throughout the city, and the Office of Student Activities' offering of different entertainment options, such as museum and sports tickets, among other things, there are many budding opportunities for students here at UMass Boston. The diversity of students, and the fact that UMass Boston is the only public research university in the city of Boston, create an appealing reputation that incoming college students will look for. An article published by the office of Communications in 2020 spoke about a report that ranked UMass Boston as the third most diverse school in the country. What stands out the most, though, is the price of tuition here at UMass Boston, as it is much cheaper compared to other schools in the city, which is a major benefit given that the school has much improved its campus life.
Looking to the future, UMass Boston has a great opportunity to utilize the Bayside Parking Lot. Hopefully, it will have something to do with building more dorms or housing for students. The school also has the possibility of either refurbishing or rebuilding both the Wheatley and McCormack buildings, much like they did in years past when they replaced the old science building with the ISC, and what they’re currently doing with the new development being built. UMass Boston has turned itself into a school with a much livelier atmosphere and a student-oriented attitude, compared to its previous years, and will continue to do so in years to come. With the campus being a short distance from a gold mine of hobbies, internships, jobs and exploration in the city of Boston—on top of a vast improvement of on campus living, campus livelihood and facilities—it would come as no surprise that the possibility of UMass Boston becoming the flagship campus for the UMass school could come true.