UMass Boston to Offer Student Housing in 2018

February 04, 2016

Office of Communications

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Innovative public-private partnership will provide on-campus housing; housing closely linked to academic success

President Marty Meehan today announced that the university expects to open student housing on its Boston campus in September 2018, achieving a long-held goal of providing UMass Boston students with an on-campus residential option.

“This is a major milestone in the history of UMass Boston and a significant accomplishment for the university as a whole,” President Meehan said. “UMass Boston is the most diverse campus of its size in New England, and we know there is a direct connection between on-campus housing and academic success. We therefore believe it is crucial to provide our Boston students with the opportunities that students at most colleges and universities take for granted.”

The 1,000-bed residential complex will be built via an innovative public-private partnership.

UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley said student housing at UMass Boston will be “transformational,” adding: “Our founders implored us to offer opportunities that are ‘equal to the best.’ We are answering that call.” Read the chancellor's message to the campus community.

President Meehan said “the era of UMass Boston student housing has arrived” after the UMass Building Authority approved a resolution the Baker administration was seeking prior to Governor Baker formally approving the project.

“Governor Baker champions the cause of education, understanding its transformational role, and he has devoted personal time and attention to this project and has offered wise counsel as we set out on this new and exciting approach to constructing student housing at the University of Massachusetts,” President Meehan said.

Said Chancellor Motley: “Governor Baker supports our students and our mission, and we appreciate the central role he is playing as UMass Boston takes this historic step forward.”

The 1,000-bed facility will be built using an innovative development model that will be the first of its kind for the UMass system.

Under the arrangement, the UMass Building Authority will contract with Capstone Development, a national leader in building student housing, to lease a portion of the UMass Boston campus adjacent to the Clark Athletic Center to construct the $120 million housing complex. Capstone will develop the facility, which will be owned and operated by a nonprofit management entity. UMass Boston will oversee the student life at the facility, providing resident assistants and other support to enhance student success.

Last year, UMBA conducted an initial request for qualifications (RFQ) for the project. From eight submissions from developers, UMBA invited seven firms to submit proposals. From those proposals, UMBA selected Capstone as the best qualified developer to undertake the UMass Boston project.

“This truly is a landmark event,” said UMass Building Authority Chairman Philip W. Johnston. “This is a great step forward for the UMass Boston campus and its students and for the entire UMass system. It is certainly time for our great urban public research university to be able to provide housing to its students.”

“On-campus housing will allow this most diverse of campus communities to offer every opportunity for its students to succeed, to graduate on time, and to go forth and contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of this state. According to most published research, academic success is positively related to living in university sponsored on and off campus facilities. Freshmen living in on-campus housing have significantly higher grades and retention rates. On-campus housing provides opportunities that contribute directly to student success,” Chancellor Motley noted.

“We undertook extensive research and due diligence, knowing that this public-private partnership will serve as a model going forward,” said UMBA Executive Director Patricia Filippone. “Not only will we benefit UMass Boston with this project, we will also answer Mayor Walsh’s call to colleges and universities throughout the city to house more students on campus, thereby reducing the pressure on neighborhood rental markets.”

Over the coming months, UMass Boston representatives will meet with neighboring civic associations to further discuss development plans.

The student housing complex will accommodate UMass Boston freshmen and transfer students -- and its opening is set for September 2018. 

UMass Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence among urban public research universities. Located on Boston Harbor, it is the metropolitan area’s only public research university. UMass Boston has been in the midst of an enrollment boom, growing from 11,862 students in 2005 to the current 17,030 students.