Tufts will begin construction of an undergraduate residence hall for juniors and seniors on the Medford/Somerville campus next year. The seven-story building on Boston Avenue, slated to open in fall 2025, will house 398 students in apartments and welcome the public to its commercial space on the ground floor.
The room will provide easy access to major undergraduate destinations, including Tisch Sports and Fitness Center and Joyce Cummings Centeras well as focal points on the Academic Quad and public transport.
Be located across from the new MBTA Medford/Tufts station, which is part of the Extension of the green line project now nearing completion – the building will include an outdoor plaza and space for a retail operation on the first floor, such as a cafe or restaurant, which will be open to the public.
“In addition to building a beautiful and efficient new residence, we are taking this opportunity to energize the streetscape of Boston Avenue,” said Rocco DiRico, executive director of government and community relations at Tufts. “Our goal is to create an inviting place on campus, not only for our students, but also for our neighbors who might catch a train to Boston and for our visitors who might be seeing Tufts for the first time.”
DiRico said the building accomplishes several shared goals.
“For years, Medford and Somerville have asked us to create more high-density housing on campus to open up off-campus housing to local families,” he said. “We’re doing that here by adding nearly 400 beds for juniors and seniors who would otherwise have to rent off-campus apartments.” Currently, Tufts guarantees on-campus housing for freshmen and sophomores.
The project is not expected to increase the number of student-owned cars on campus, Di Rico said. “The majority of our students on campus don’t bring a car anyway, and with the arrival of the T, we expect students in this new room to love the convenience of the Green Line, located just in front of where they direct.”
Tufts is also in talks with the bike share system blue bikes to sponsor two new stations within walking distance of the new residence hall, he said.
The MBTA will make improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks and other pedestrian-related improvements once Medford/Tufts Station is complete, DiRico added.
The project is part of the university commitment to decarbonizing the campus and constructing energy-efficient buildings. This building will be designed and constructed with a low energy intensity objective and will be connected to Tufts’ highly efficient Central Energy Plant for Utilities, said Ruth Bennett, Senior Director of Capital Programs.
The building will also be solar-ready, she said, meaning all the conduits and meters needed for a solar panel will be installed during construction. Tufts will continue to work with solar developers to install solar panels on the roofs of as many buildings as possible, including the new residence hall.
The residence is part of Tufts’ ongoing investment in new and improved infrastructure that advances the s of the universitysustainability goals, including achieving carbon neutrality at the Medford/Somerville campus by 2050, she said.
The architect is William Rawn Associates, whose projects include Residential homes at Brown, Brandeis and Duke and at Sophia Gordon Hall at Tufts, among others. The contractor is DPR Construction.
The new residence is part of a strategic plan by Tufts to make major capital improvements. In April 2021, the university completed a $250 million bond issue and earmarked a large portion of those funds for student housing..
The last time Tufts built a new residence hall on campus was in 2006. opening of Sophia Gordon Room (15 Talbot Avenue) made available 124 beds for juniors and seniors. (Additional apartment-style accommodations are also available in the Latin Way and Hillsides dorms, as well as special interest accommodations and rooms in other campus dorms.)
Over the past five years, the university has made significant progress toward expanding on-campus housing, adding a total of 485 beds for undergraduates, DiRico said.
Juniors and seniors, preferring apartment-style units, have found an attractive option for on-campus housing in a recent initiative known as CoHo (a name chosen by students, which is short for Community Housing ). For this project, Tufts renovated 13 wood-frame houses and built a new, all-electric, highly sustainable house, to create housing for 139 students. Tufts also plans to renovate two other homes, 50 Winthrop and 2-4 Capen Street, which will increase CoHo’s capacity. by fall 2023.
Tufts is also renovating 29 Sawyer Avenue in Somerville, which currently houses four students. Once the renovation and expansion are complete, the new residence will accommodate 26 juniors and seniors.
“Being able to have more juniors and seniors living on campus creates a more robust residential community,” says Camille Lizarribar, dean of student affairs. “This increases opportunities for students at different stages of their Tufts experience to learn from and engage with each other, forge close friendships, and share memories that last a lifetime.
Last year’s summer construction also created accommodation for 150 freshmen in the area known as Court at Professors Row. This fall, 24 students also moved into a new housing option, the 114 Professors Row, a former fraternity house.
Construction of the new residence is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in the fall of 2025.