Campus discussions and concepts of a student center began on the UMass campus in the late 1980s. By the mid-nineties it was clear the campus required more space for offices and academic pursuits and decided to create a student center with student services offices which would then free up space in other campus facilities.
Detailed planning began in 1998 with the hope of transforming the 25 year old campus whose facilities did not take advantage of the beautiful ocean views on the peninsula. On July 20, 2001, the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management began construction on the new 331,000 square-foot, $75 million University of Massachusetts Boston Campus Center. Designed by architect Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood, the building was constructed by Suffolk Construction. Within six months, the steel framework and decking was beginning to be installed and as the shape of the building became obvious the campus community started buzzing about the changes the new facility would bring. Completion of the building took two more years and on April 2, 2004 the grand opening of the building was held with appropriate fanfare and speeches from University Chancellor Gora, Boston's Mayor Menino, and Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, among others. Since the opening, the building has largely fulfilled its promise: The campus had hoped to transform itself physically and culturally by establishing a brightly lit, warm and inviting environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to enjoy.
Today, students relax and study in brightly lit lounges, check their email wirelessly, and everyone enjoys the food, views, and spaces to meet and converse. There are also vendor tables each week as well as campus based and external meetings, conferences, and receptions. A definitive sense of community has emerged around the Atrium - a large lounge on the main floor - and staff, students, and others are still excited about all the positive affects the building has brought to the campus.