Residents respond to Wentworth dorm plan

August 10, 2012
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Wentworth Institute of Technology’s (WIT) plan for a seven-story, 305-bed dorm at 525 Huntington Ave. received mixed reviews during a sparsely attended community meeting July 31 at WIT’s Blount Auditorium.

The $42 million, 118,000-square-foot dorm is to be built on a triangle of land formed by Huntington Avenue and Louis Prang and Vancouver Streets. The site was formerly the home of a gas station, but was developed into a park in fall 2008.

One resident applauded WIT for pulling students out of local neighborhoods and putting them back on campus, while two other residents complained about the projected dorm’s impact.

Pat Flaherty, a Mission Hill resident and a senior project manager at Mission Hill Neighborhood Housing Services, commended WIT for fulfilling a promise to build a dorm that will bring students back on campus. She said WIT is doing that even during difficult economic times.

“They are doing what they are able to do,” Flaherty told the Gazette after the meeting.

Esther Wong and Joyce Phillips, two Vancouver Street residents, spoke with the Gazette after the meeting. They said that the site should remain a park and that the dorm will block the sun on their street and cause ice to build up during the winter months.

“We are going to end up living in an alley,” said Phillips. “It’s going to be bad.”

Jamie Kelly, director of Public Affairs at WIT, responded in an email to the Gazette by saying the institute cares about its neighbors and that the plan was always to turn the park into a dorm.

“Wentworth prides itself on building positive relationships with all members of the community and surrounding neighborhoods,” he said. “The Institute’s approved [Institutional Master Plan] clearly identifies a new student residence at 525 Huntington Ave. as a future project. The temporary use of the parcel as an open space was communicated in the IMP.”

WIT expects to begin construction in February 2013 and have students living in the dorm by fall 2014.

For those who wish to comment on the dorm’s project notification form, contact Katelyn Sullivan, project manager at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, at 617-918-4425 or katelyn.sullivan.BRA@cityofboston.gov. The comment period ends Aug. 13.

 

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