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May 25, 2016

No progress on YMCA dorm

News Photo/ Chris Mullin

By Nick Jacques, News Correspondent

Less than 18 months before its planned opening date, Northeastern officials said they have no news to report about a new dorm building announced in 2010. Under the proposal, construction was supposed to start in June 2011.

In October 2010 the university announced plans for Phoenix Property Company to purchase two wings of the YMCA on Huntington Avenue and develop a 17-story residence hall, which Northeastern would lease to house 720 students. The project, however, has faced massive opposition from community members and construction has been stalled by legal challenges.

As part of Northeastern’s Institutional Master Plan (IMP), the university promised the city it would add 1,800 on-campus beds for students. The construction of International Village, which opened in 2009, added 1,200, but the additional 600 are still to be accounted for.

Vice President for City and Community Affairs John Tobin is overseeing the project and did not respond to multiple requests for an interview this week.

In response to an interview request to Tobin, Associate Director of Communications Lucy Warsh McGowan wrote in an email to The News that “there’s no real new news to report at this time.”

YMCA Senior Vice President of Development of Communications Kelley Rice responded to an interview request with an email saying, “We do not have any new information to share at this time.”

Rice said she believed the project would move ahead in the next 18 months, but would not elaborate or divulge any specific plans.

John Runnels, a spokesman for Phoenix Property Company, the private contractor

investing in the project, didn’t respond to an interview request either.

Construction was supposed to begin in June 2011, and was scheduled to be completed in September 2013.

In February 2011, 1,000 YMCA members signed a petition to save the building. The group Save the Boston Y tried to have the building listed as a historical site, but the Boston Landmark Commission denied the request.

Amid silence by the all parties involved, the demand for more on-campus space continues to grow.

Beginning next fall, all sophomores will be required to live in university housing. All freshmen are already required to live on campus.

Lack of classroom space is becoming an issue as well.

At a Faculty Senate meeting yesterday, faculty members discussed issues with the quality of classroom, lab, office and research space.

“We need more classrooms,” said finance professor and Committee on Financial Affairs Co-Chair Paul Bolster.

Bolster said the availability of quality classroom space was among one of the most frequent concerns raised by faculty on a budget priorities survey.

“Classrooms and classroom technology, faculty reported, are unevenly maintained and often outdated,” he said.

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