A groundbreaking event for Emerson’s new residence hall took place at 2 Boylston Pl. last Thursday. The new dorm is expected to host 380 students.
The college began construction in the Boylston Place alley this past summer. The building is scheduled to be finished in summer 2017.
The groundbreaking marks the completion of the demolition of the 1-3 Boylston Place buildings, and the beginning of excavation of the site to prepare for laying of foundation. According to a construction schedule provided by the Office of Government & Community Relations, excavation will continue for at least the rest of the week.
President M. Lee Pelton spoke at the event with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jeffrey Green. Pelton said in his speech that Walsh asked colleges and universities to create more student housing to free up housing for low income city residents.
“We are doing our best to meet this mandate,” Pelton said. “Being part of an urban campus is a significant part of the Emerson experience. As we aspire to be the global hub for the liberal arts and communication, I can’t think of a better place to be than the Theater District across from the historic Boston Common.”
Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts secretary and chief executive officer of the Department of Transportation; Rahn Dorsey, Boston’s chief of education; Bill Linehan, president of Boston city council; and Sheila Dillon, chief of housing and neighborhood development were also in attendance.
Walsh thanked Emerson for being a friend to the city at the event.
“Last year I put out a call to all our universities, asking them all to invest more in student housing opportunities for their students.” Walsh said. “I was proud to announce that Emerson was the first school to answer that call.”
Walsh’s plan, called Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, includes the creation of 16,000 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate dorm beds, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office. This will allow 5,000 units to be released back to Boston citizens, rather than being occupied by students. This is part of a larger plan for 53,000 housing units to be built across the city.
Margaret Ings, associate vice president for government and community relations, helped plan the event with members of Pelton’s office, Construction Management, and Television, Radio and Film Production.
She said in an interview that it was a pleasure to have notable city officials at the event, and that their working relationship on this project has been successful so far.
“Whenever we can have them come to the campus it’s an added bonus for everyone,” Ings said. “We’re very fortunate to have them show up.”
Ings said that the college’s relationship with the Boylston Place Association has been stable, and they meet monthly. She said that construction will take place as long as possible into the winter months, weather permitting.
“I just hope it’s going to continue going as well as it has been,” Ings said.
Director of Construction Management Michael Faia declined to comment.
Correction:A previous version of this article misidentified Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts secretary and chief executive officer of the Department of Transportation, and Rahn Dorsey, Boston’s chief of education.