WPI to Build New Residence Hall

May 30, 2012

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announces the development of a 258-bed, 89,000-square-foot, apartment-style student residence hall at 10 Faraday Street at the intersections of Faraday, Grove, and Lancaster Streets. WPI expects to break ground for the $38 million building in June 2012, and construction is expected to be completed by July 2013. This green building was designed by Boston-based ADD Inc. to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification standards, and will be built by Daniel O'Connell's Sons of Holyoke, Mass.

The residence hall will house upperclass undergraduate and graduate students. The building will feature four-person apartments with full kitchens, living rooms, and compartmentalized bathrooms. The air-conditioned building will also include recreation facilities, technology suites, and full wireless access. The design of the building also calls for significant green space with plans for a plaza and some sitting walls. It will also feature adjacent parking.

"This new residence hall is being designed specifically to meet the needs of our students; it is also being designed to celebrate science and technology in such a way that will make it truly distinctive," says Dennis Berkey, President and CEO of WPI. "Its close proximity to Gateway Park will make it especially attractive to the many students focused on the life sciences at WPI; they are eager to live near the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, as well as the new facilities at 50 Prescott Street that will open there this fall."

The building's design celebrates the work of Michael Faraday, a British scientist, chemist, physicist, and philosopher who lived from 1791 to 1867. Faraday is widely credited as being one of the most influential scientists in history; he is known for having discovered the magnetic field, electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis, and his work greatly contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. It was largely due to his efforts that electricity became viable for use in technology. Additionally, Faraday discovered benzene, and is also credited with having invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers. He is also known for popularizing such terms as anode, cathode, electrode, and ion.

This residence hall will be WPI's fourth LEED-certified building and its second residence hall to achieve that distinction; in 2008 WPI opened the LEED Gold-certified East Hall, which features the city of Worcester's first "living green" roof. Akin to East Hall, this new residence hall will be built using local and recycled materials (to stimulate the economy), it will maximize energy- and water-use efficiency and will feature a large number of windows to maximize the amount of natural light, reducing the need for artificial light and minimizing electrical consumption during the daylight hours.

WPI's commitment to sustainable development extends well beyond its residence halls: WPI's Bartlett Center, the university's admissions and financial aid building, was the first university building in Worcester to attain LEED certification in 2007. The WPI Sports and Recreation Center, which will expect to open in August 2012, is also expected to be awarded LEED-Silver designation. Also under construction is a new parking garage featuring the first "rooftop fields" in Massachusetts. The $21 million, 527-car parking garage will feature rooftop athletic fields for softball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, and a variety of other recreational activities. That new facility is projected to open in January 2013, and will include sustainable features such as stormwater recharging, energy efficiency, an electric vehicle charging station, and the use of materials with recycled content; the very nature of the project is an important example of sustainable development in that the land is being used for two purposes under one footprint.

The new residence hall is a key part of the university's plans to develop a vibrant lower campus that links WPI's main campus with the downtown area and to Gateway Park, the 11-acre mixed-use life sciences-based campus. In 2007, WPI opened the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park (LSBC), a building that serves as the university's focal point for graduate education and research in the life sciences and related bioengineering fields. A second building at Gateway Park is currently under construction and is expected the open in September 2012. That new building has also been designed to achieve LEED certification, and WPI is leasing space there for three university programs: the new Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (BETC); an expanded Fire Protection Engineering Department and research laboratory; and the graduate division of WPI's School of Business. Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) will lease space in the new building to create an incubator for emerging life sciences companies. Blue Sky Biotech, a contract research company now located at the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center (LSBC) at Gateway Park, will also move into the new building to accommodate its continued growth.