The time has come for the Boston College community to say goodbye to Edmonds Hall and hello to a new Plex. Boston College’s 10-Year Plan proposes the demolition of the “outmoded 35-year old Flynn Recreational Complex” and the “outdated” Edmonds Hall that is “in need of extensive repairs.” A new Recreation Center will replace Edmonds and, eventually, a new University Center will replace the old Plex.
The plan was approved by the City of Boston in 2009 along with the rest of the University’s Institutional Master Plan. The Recreational Center will be built alongside new athletic playing fields and a new field house at a total cost of $200 million in donations.
According to Boston College’s 10-Year Plan, the new 285,000 sf University Center “will supply desperately needed space for Boston College’s 230 student organizations” through conference rooms, the bookstore, dining, student services, and an extension to Robsham Theatre. It will end up replacing “the outdated and inadequate McElroy Commons, which has served as the student center for the last 47 years.” The timeline for the project has not yet been finalized.
McElroy will eventually be demolished to create space for a new “campus quadrangle” and walkway that will link Stokes Commons and a renovated Carney Hall to two new academic buildings (labeled 6 and 7) according to the map of the master plan.
Edmonds Hall is scheduled to be completely demolished by the start of the fall semester, but debris will be continued to be removed throughout September. Replacing Edmonds’ 790 beds of undergraduate housing, the 200,000 sq. ft. Recreational Center will include several features that will significantly improve upon the Plex’s current offerings.
The new amenities include Multi-Activity courts to support indoor soccer, basketball, floor hockey, and other indoor sports, four regulation-sized wood basketball courts, increased fitness spaces with four multipurpose rooms and an Olympic Lifting area, a fitness ramp, a rock climbing wall, an outdoor center with a golf simulator, increased club meeting spaces and storage, increased social and lounge space throughout, air conditioning, and increased light and external views.
“The new Recreational Center was part of the 2007 Campus Master Plan. I returned to BC in 2011, and since then was part of a planning team for the new recreational center,” remarks Caitriona Taylor, Director of Campus Recreation. “The biggest challenge is since the Flynn Complex is slated to be decommissioned after the new Recreation Center opens, we need to build a complex that can replace all the current offerings, along with adding new recreational opportunities for the Boston College community.”
Student feedback was taken into consideration in order to implement a new design for the Rec Center. “The Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment sent an email survey to the BC Community, including Undergrads in the Spring of 2014,” notes Taylor. “In addition, we used other surveys and suggestions we have received from students during our regular Flynn Complex Operations. Finally, we track program participation and daily usage, to help guide what we see students engaging in.”
As to what she is most looking forward to about the new Rec Center, Taylor says, “Right now, air conditioning! Overall though, it's a dynamic, exciting building that will help transform lower campus into a vibrant area. The current Flynn Complex does not have any windows, and I believe this traps the energy inside. With this new building, the windows and light will help move the inside energy out into the campus.”