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Sense of Place

University Crossing at UMass Lowell

230,000-square-foot facility brings together all offices involved in student success
University Business, February 2015
  • Keeping with the building’s contemporary feel, “The Lantern,” a large installation that hangs in the lobby of University Crossing at UMass Lowell uses wooden panels to help reflect light into the building and dampen sound.
  • The facility serves as a new gathering place for campus student organizations at UMass Lowell.

All offices involved in student success are now, for the first time, housed together in the new 230,000-square-foot University Crossing student center. The building also links the South, North and East campuses with the city’s downtown business district and cultural attractions.

Challenge

Historically, University of Massachusetts, Lowell comprised of three separate campuses geographically divided by the Merrimack River. Coupled with a nearly 50 percent increase in enrollment over the last seven years, the university needed a new building to put all student services under one roof.

Officials also wanted it to serve as a centralized gathering place for an increase in campus organizations, says Jean Robinson, director of capital projects. “A new hub to bring three disjointed campuses together was a natural fit.”

Solution

Working with designer Perkins + Will, the institution created a “one-stop shop” for students, placing the offices of admissions, residence life, registrar, financial aid and career services at University Crossing. More than 200 of UMass Lowell’s student-run organizations also have workspace there.

These offices and meeting rooms throughout the building’s four floors have glass walls, making them visible from the atrium. The building also has a new bookstore, an eatery and a large, sunny lobby with views of the nearby river.

The facility’s open feel “achieves our goal of creating as much transparency between spaces as possible, encouraging informal connections for both staff and students,” Robinson says, adding that the building is more contemporary than are other buildings at UMass Lowell.

“Having this state-of-the-art center helps provide support and success for our students,” she says. “It helps everyone remember that’s our main goal on campus.”

  • COMPLETED: September 2014
  • COST: $95 million
  • PROJECT TEAM: Perkins + Will (designer), Chicago; Joslin, Lesser + Associates (Watertown, Massachusetts), construction management; Shawmut Design and Construction (Boston), general contractor; Acentech (Cambridge, Massachusetts), acoustics. 

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