Renovations in full swing

Construction across campus looks to replace lost properties

Jacob Geanous

Campus-wide changes are being made as Suffolk University prepares for the loss of the Archer and Donahue buildings. Facing consolidation and replacements, extensive construction has commenced throughout the Frank Sawyer building and the 73 Tremont building to ensure that student spaces will be appropriately relocated.

In an interview with the Journal, Student Government Association Treasurer Cameron Viola said, “First I was really nervous about the move to Sawyer and the amount of room student organizations were going to have. However, after I recently saw the floor plan, I feel way more comfortable with the new area for clubs.”

“I feel like it will be a solid change because it unites our campus in a way by having 73, Miller, Sawyer and Somerset all close together,” said Viola.

Jim Wallace, director of facilities at Suffolk, is spearheading this project, which he likens to “a big game of checkers and musical chairs,” in the sense that construction heads have reworked the dimensions of buildings on Suffolk’s campus to make space for nearly everything that is currently located in the Archer and Donahue buildings.

However, there is still much work to be done before the Fall 2016 term.

“It’s been difficult, I have to admit,” Wallace said in an interview with the Journal. “It’s going to be especially difficult to move everybody out of Donahue and Archer by the end of May. Overall, I think it’ll be much better than what we have now.”

The first update to be unveiled will be the 3,700 square foot student commons that has been added to the the third floor of 73 Tremont within the Sawyer Library. The modernized space, set to open March 7, will include eight additional study rooms that will complement the existing library space. The Moakley Archive and Institute, which has occupied the ninth floor, will also be relocated to this space.

The Sawyer building will be experiencing the most drastic changes to absorb the impact of two lost buildings, namely the fourth floor, which is in the process of being completely cleared out and converted into a sprawling student lounge space, including a spacious conference area.

“The new space is going to be great,” said Dave DeAngelis, director of Student Leadership and Involvement. “In my idea, it’s a newer, more advanced, more functional version of this area.”

Half of the third floor will become lounge space as well, but it will also contain rooms for student organizations and classrooms. SLI, as well as the Performing Arts Office, Greek Life office and SGA office will be headquartered on the third floor of Sawyer starting next semester.

The eighth and ninth floors are also being reinvented to become the new base for student groups, including Diversity Services, Suffolk Free Radio, The Video Gamers Army and WSUB. It will also be outfitted with the Interfaith Center and additional activity space.

The only area whose renovation process has yet to be initiated is the second-floor lobby.

“The lobby will be redesigned to be much more appealing than it is now,” said Wallace. “This has been discussed for a while, [and] now President Margaret Mckenna is ready to take the step to do it.”

The aesthetic improvements will include new furniture, carpeting and a change to the red brick walls.

According to Wallace, discussions about the creation of an additional fitness center are also in the works.

Overall, the majority of Donahue and Archer, with the exception of the C. Walsh Theater, is in the process of modernized relocation.

Jim Wallace hinted at a few recently-found options for a new theater, but plans to move have yet to materialize.

Kathy Maloney, PAO’s associate director, shared her thoughts on the office still not having a new space for their productions.

“We would love to have a theater but we don’t,” she said. “It’s really difficult for them to have sold the building that includes our only theater, which allows us to have full-scale events, without having a replacement.”