Monday, January 21, 2008

BC Task Force Meeting Tuesday 1/22 at 6:30 pm

BC Task Force Meeting
Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 6:30-8:30 pm
Brighton Marine Health Center, 77 Warren Street, 3rd floor, Brighton MA 02135

For more information, contact: John Fitzgerald, Project Manager, BRA, 617-918-4267

Public comments on the IMPNF: Due February 5, 2008 to the BRA

Note: The BC Task Force has requested that attendees, if possible, provide them with written comments at their meetings. It doesn't have to be a formally-written letter, etc., but anything to help them assemble information in addition to verbal comments at the meetings. Address letters to Jean Woods, Chair, BC Task Force.

Agenda: Housing Issues in BC's 10-year institutional master plan

BC's master plan website with electronic version of their project notification form. Current housing is summarized in Chapter 2; proposed housing in the 10-year IMP is in Chapter 3; and "Residential Life" is in Chapter 5.

Undergraduate Housing. BC has proposed a series of new construction of undergraduate dormitories, and demolition of current dormitories, that results in a net increase of 610 beds of undergraduate on-campus housing over the next 10 years. Currently, approximately 1200 undergraduate students live off-campus in neighborhood rentals.

Existing dormitories proposed to be demolished:
  • 790-bed Edmonds Hall, which would be replaced with a new student Recreation Center; and
  • approximately 40% of the "Mods" buildings (i.e., demolish 185 beds out of 444 in the total Mods buildings), which would be replaced by 175 beds of new construction.
New dormitories proposed to be built:
  • Mods partial replacement (175 beds replacing 185 current beds, see previous paragraph);
  • Two sets of dormitories, comprising 500 beds, on the former St. John's Seminary land (now called the "Brighton Campus");
  • 420 beds on the More Hall site, at the southeast corner of St. Thomas More Road and Commonwealth Avenue; and
  • 490 beds on part of the Shea Field, at the northwest corner of St. Thomas More Road and Beacon Street.
No housing additions or modifications are being proposed for BC land in Newton.

One corner of the site of the current Flynn Recreation Center ("Rec Plex") -- which is proposed to be demolished once the proposed new Recreation Center is built -- would be occupied a proposed new "university center" with space for "dining, student organizations, offices, conference center, and theater"; the remainder of the Rec Plex site is proposed to be converted into open space.

Seminarian and Graduate Student Housing. BC has proposed to build 75-beds of "Jesuit faculty and graduate student housing" on the property at 188-196 Foster Street, adjacent to the Foster Rock, primarily in order to house the students (including Jesuit seminarians) and faculty from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology who are re-affiliating with BC in Fall 2008. Three houses -- occupying one corner of the site, dating from the late 19th century, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places -- are proposed to be demolished to make way for the new housing.

No other graduate student housing is proposed to be constructed in Brighton or Newton.

The university holds master leases on 186 units in the Cleveland Circle area which it uses for graduate student housing. (My estimate is that they comprise 203 beds of graduate student housing.) These master leases end after six years; there is no indication in the IMPNF of what will happen after that date within the remaining four years of this master plan.

Faculty Housing Purchases. Since the time of the previous IMP in 2000, BC has acquired a number of houses in Brighton on Wade Street and Foster Street. The Foster Street houses are proposed to be demolished (see above), while the Wade Street houses have been extensively rehabilitated during the past year to provide BC faculty housing. The Wade Street houses, in particular, are for "residential use," not for "institutional use," thereby remaining on the city's property tax rolls.

In a January 16, 2007 letter from Thomas Keady, Jr., BC Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs, to the BC Task Force he referred to the Wade Street (and similar) houses. "If approached," he wrote, "the University will consider opportunities for other strategic acquisitions."

Employee Mortgage Assistance Program. At public meetings of the BC Task Force, BC has proposed a new program to assist employees in purchasing housing in Brighton. (Since the program is not described in the IMPNF itself, as far as I can tell, or in any other available document, I have no further information.)

Proposed Ban on Undergraduates LIving in Off-Campus 1- and 2-Family Houses. BC has proposed a new ban on their off-campus undergraduate students living in Allston-Brighton and Newton 1- and 2-family houses. This proposed ban was described at the December 4, 2007 meeting of the BC Task Force, and in meetings between BC officials with the media, but is not included in the IMPNF itself; it is not further described in any documents provided thus far. According to the Boston Herald,
William Leahy, SJ, President of BC, stated that the ban would take effect "after the new dorms are built."

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