Undergraduate Housing Expands with Blakeley Hall Renovations

Work is part of ongoing upgrades on the Medford/Somerville campus

Tufts is on track to expand undergraduate housing by 120 beds and modernize academic and research buildings this summer on the Medford/Somerville campus.

The building designs and landscaping of the projects illustrate a continued focus on buildings that foster collaboration and community, while mechanical system upgrades address accessibility and sustainability. The construction projects align with an expanded commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emission on all university campuses no later than 2050.

All projects are in progress and will carry over to next year, except for Halligan Hall in the School of Engineering and new housing for Fletcher School students, both set to open this fall. Below is an overview; more details are on the Capital Projects website.

Student Housing: Undergraduate

Blakeley Hall renovations reflect an ongoing focus on increasing undergraduate housing on campus.

The hall, constructed in 1926, is being converted from a Fletcher School residence into on-campus accommodations for 120 sophomores. The renovation, which is expected to be complete in summer 2025, is running in tandem with upgrades to nearby 123 Packard Avenue, which will provide Fletcher graduate student housing starting this fall.

Project manager Christopher Hogan said that renovations include a “full makeover” for the Blakeley courtyard. New pathways, seating, and landscaping “will activate an outdoor gathering space that can extend to the greater Tufts community,” he said. 

The courtyard will lead to a newly constructed entry that in turns will open into a generous main lounge; new windows there will create “a bright and welcoming space for the students to gather,” said Hogan.  A new entry is also being created on the wing facing a parking lot for expanded access to the building and to the courtyard. 

The new Blakeley, he said, will be a horizontal layout, allowing students to circulate anywhere in the building via stairways, an elevator, and corridors, and providing “spaces to meet, collaborate, or just relax,” he said.

The Blakeley renovations represent an ongoing focus on increasing opportunities for undergraduate housing on campus. 

Last summer, options for CoHo (Community Housing) expanded with the construction of two new houses on Winthrop Street that offer apartment-style living for juniors and seniors.  A house at 29 Sawyer Avenue in Somerville was also completely renovated with an addition that also offers apartment-style living for juniors and seniors. It will open this fall. Combined, the three properties will add 75 undergraduate beds to the Medford/Somerville campus. 

Student Housing: Graduate

A cohort of 27 graduate students at The Fletcher School will have new on-campus housing at 123 Packard starting this fall. Renovations to the building include creating a garden-level common room and landscaped courtyard for community gatherings and events.

The work will include enhanced insulation, new windows, and energy-efficient heat pump systems. The renovation also includes an accessible entrance and a three-level lift, providing wheelchair access to most of the building.

Academic Buildings

Halligan Hall will reopen this fall after a major renovation that creates a new, collaborative hub for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, currently spread across three campus locations.

Originally built as a radio factory in 1925, Halligan is being renewed and reconfigured to meet teaching and research needs, while providing room for continued growth.

All new mechanical systems are being updated and energy efficiency improved through use of new insulated double pane windows and increased insulation. 

Eaton Hall renovations at Tufts

On the Academic Quad, Eaton Hall's transformation will include a prominent new entrance. Image: Finegold Alexander Architects and Payette

Eaton Hall, built in 1908 as Eaton Memorial Library, is being transformed to support the departments of religion, sociology, anthropology, and classical studies.

The project includes a centrally located, wheelchair accessible entry addition that opens into a multipurpose gathering space with an elevator and direct access to the Academic Green. 

Bacon Hall renovations at Tufts

A renovated Bacon Hall will open next year as the new home of the Earth and Climate Sciences Department. Image: CannonDesign

Bacon Hall renovations include an addition that expands research space and accommodates growth for the new home of the Earth and Climate Sciences Department, relocating from Lane Hall. New teaching and research labs will also benefit selected biology departments. 

A new plaza at Bacon Hall, facing 530 Boston Avenue, will showcase a pollinator garden and a geological specimen display. All mechanical, electrical, data, plumbing, and fire protection systems in the hall are being replaced. Bacon will also get a new roof and windows and, with new insulation, be more thermally efficient.

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