New academic building right on schedule

By Megan Palumbo & Tyler Hetu – Sports Editor & 1851 Staff

This past summer, crew members from Commodore Builders dug into what was Wass and Wolfe Halls, two outdated classroom buildings. Wass was completely demolished while Wolfe’s framework stayed for renovations. The new academic center is well on its way to being built. With a manageable amount of snowfall this winter there’s been minimal setbacks, resulting in a speedy completion expected sometime next spring.

The new academic building is being constructed on schedule. Photo by Megan Palumbo

The process for the new facility has been in the making since 2011, when a strategic plan to renovate Wass and Wolfe Halls was created. Numerous meetings and proposals happened before the renovation became a part of a five-year plan for the school. “They narrowed it down to having three 50 person classrooms, modern science labs, athletic training space, café and bookstore. All of these suggestions came out from simple conversations,” said Michael Hoyle, Vice President of Administration and Finance/CFO.

The academic center will provide students with state-of-the-art classrooms, lab space, and lounging area, all complete with a view of Taylor Field. The lounging area will be among the new bookstore, a charging station, and a revamped IT help desk. The café and outdoor seating will be in the front courtyard. Alden Math Lab will be moved from Brennan Library to the new building.

General classrooms will be on the basement, first, and second floor of the building. “These rooms can hold up to 50 students and have dividers to utilize as much space as possible during classes. Each room will have a flat screen TV with projection and white boards,” said Hoyle.

Many new classrooms and office spaces will accommodate the science departments and its students. The exercise science and athletic training departments used Wass as their primary building for classrooms and lab space. Now, there will be an entire floor designated for lab rooms, chemical storage, and even prep rooms for the labs.

Hoyle explained this remodel goes further than just the classrooms. “We needed to improve the science labs and the athletic training lab and also the classroom functionality in general. These buildings were really old, there was no air conditioning, no elevators, the focus was improving the academic side and also the functionality.”

Building features include using sustainable materials, an elevator, advanced electronics and technology, improved heating and cooling systems, and tons of natural lighting.

“I think that creates an environment that allows for student learning to be that much more rich and meaningful,” said Hoyle.

There will be group study spaces, similar to the ones in Brennan Library, put on every floor. A green roof is being put in for the environmental science students to be able to measure water and air for plants, as well as a weather station.

“I’m honored, it has been really exciting and I have learned a lot in this process,” Hoyle said about being a part of a big piece of Lasell history.

“I’m looking forward to having it open and seeing the community benefit from it. I think it’s going to be a great addition to this campus.”

Faculty will use next January to come in and get acquainted with the technology in the classrooms, and their lab spaces. As of now, the new academic building is on pace for an opening in December 2017, and will hold its first classes next spring semester.

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