College looks to expand campus in response to construction

by Nathanael King / Beacon Staff • September 15, 2016

Construction of new dorm
Construction of new dorm

When the Little Building closes this summer, the college will lose 748 beds and a dining hall that have been used by students for years. To fill those needs, Emerson is creating and renting new spaces. 

The new residence hall currently being constructed at 2 Boylston place will account for 374 new beds, according to Arthur Mombourquette, senior associate vice president for real estate. Due to city laws restricting shadows on Boston Common, part of the new residence hall will not reach the full 18-story height. A rooftop patio will instead be installed on the 14th floor, according to Mombourquette.

“You want to grow while [the college is] popular,” Mombourquette said, “and the school is very successful and very popular because of the quality of the programs.”

To account for some of the remaining beds, the college is in talks with the owners of Boston Fenway Inn at 12 Hemenway St about leasing out the 115-bed building for the two years that the Little Building is closed, Mombourquette said. 

He said the property owners are willing to lease the building, but it will have to be rezoned by the city. Currently, the facility is zoned as a hostel, but it needs to be rezoned for institutional use. Mombourquette expects this process to finish in January.

If the Hemenway property is leased, freshmen students would not live there—sophomores may not either, he said. The administration is considering various transportation accommodations, most prominently a shuttle bus to campus. 

But that still leaves 259 beds missing. Because of this, the college is considering adding beds in the Colonial building and the Piano Row dorms.

The 550-seat, two floor dining center adjacent to the Walker building should be operational by the same time, he added.