Final Beam Raised on UMass Boston’s First Residence Hall

Office of Communications | August 03, 2017
The final steel beam is raised into place above UMass Boston's first residence hall.

The final steel beam is raised into place above UMass Boston's first residence hall.
Image by: Harry Brett

The benefits of adding residence life to a university community are clear, and we’re making great progress toward that goal.

Topping-Off for $120 Million Complex Marks Milestone in Residence Life at University

Eight months after the official groundbreaking, the University of Massachusetts Boston marked a milestone in the construction phase of its first residence hall today with a topping-off ceremony.

Local 7 Ironworkers raised the final steel beam for the $120 million, 260,000-square-foot residence hall, which will achieve a long-held goal of providing UMass Boston students with an on-campus residential option.

The 1,077-bed residence hall — the first-ever student housing on campus — will be located at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Street and University Drive West. It will be available to first-year UMass Boston students, and is expected to open for the fall 2018 semester. 

“Today’s topping-off is an important milestone for UMass Boston and a symbol of our firm commitment to the academic and personal success of our students,” said interim Chancellor Barry Mills. “The benefits of adding residence life to a university community are clear, and we’re making great progress toward that goal.”

A topping-off ceremony is a construction-industry tradition marking the end of the steel construction, when the crew puts the highest structural point of a building in place.

“There is a direct connection between on-campus housing and academic success. A residence life option is a given at UMass Boston’s urban public research university peers,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “The fact that the project is made possible by a new and innovative public-private partnership model makes today an even more significant moment for the university as a whole. I congratulate the project management and construction teams for their safe arrival at this milestone.”

UMass Boston is building the residence hall using a public-private partnership (P3), an innovative development model that is the first of its kind for the UMass system. A third-party, nonprofit entity will lease the land, own, operate and maintain the facility for UMass Boston,which will supervise the students who reside in the hall. 

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the university signed their names to the beam before it was raised to the top of the new building, and many who could not attend Thursday’s ceremony participated in a digital signing through a dedicated website. In addition to signing the beam, it is also customary to put an evergreen shrub on the beam as good luck for the workers and future occupants of the building.

The student-housing complex will consist of two buildings, ranging from seven to twelve stories, offering a mixture of styles ranging from single-occupancy apartments to four-person units. It will also include living-learning amenities such as seminar rooms, study lounges, a 23,000-square-foot dining hall, and other amenities to promote academic and personal development.

The project is managed by Capstone Development with construction partners Elkus Manfredi Architects and Shawmut Construction.

Learn more about the residence hall project.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit    

Tags: residence hall , topping off

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