(Brigid Archibald / the Connector) UMass Lowell is renting the center through a ten year lease. Renovation on the building began in the Fall 2019 semester and is expected to be finished this May.
Ashley Rose Rivera
Joining UMass Lowell’s ever-expanding repertoire of locations in May is the Graduate and Professional Studies Center. Made up of three floors, the center is a new building acquired by the university located on 839 Merrimack St.
Part of a 10-year lease, each floor will become home to various units that are currently scattered throughout the university. With three entrances on the first floor, the ground level will encompass the graduate and professional studies and online continuing education classes, regular registrar classes, Residence Life and the Study Abroad Office. The Residence Life Office is curre ntly located on the first floor of University Crossing but will be moved to better accommodate their size.
“The reality is University Crossing is full,” said Adam Baacke, the executive director of planning, design and construction.
The second floor will house the Graduate and Professional Studies Administration and will contain the Office of Online & Continuing Education along with graduate admissions and recruiting. On the same floor will be the International Students and Scholar’s Office and NAVITAS. NAVITAS is a program that works to provide international students with support while they obtain their undergraduate and graduate degrees.
“The university felt that it was important to reorganize and bring them all together under [Vice Provost for Graduate & Professional Studies, Steven Tello’s] leadership…this building gives us the opportunity to collocate them as well,” said Baacke.
Tello believes that this new building will prove more convenient for students.
“If they’re considering going from an undergrad to a graduate program or [if] they have questions about taking an online course, all those services will be situated in one place now rather than having to go over to Southwick, or Cumnock or University Crossing, so that’ll be helpful,” said Tello.
Baacke said all these different offices are currently scattered throughout the university in Cumnock, Southwick and University Crossing, and moving them was an opportunity to have them all together in one location. “It strengthens that as an anchoring point for our multiple campuses, right in that area.”
There will be brand new classrooms with modern AV support systems and overall more desirable learning environments. There will also be a student services affinity space for international students and more space for administration, complete with bookable conference rooms.
The objective of the building is to unify the offices on campus that deal with graduate, online, professional development and executive education. The intersection near University Crossing is a central point for the campus and the existence of university facilities on all four corners of the university. The building will make it easier for students to get to where they need to go while allowing the university the opportunity to expand.
“Online and continuing ed and graduate learning are two areas where we are really looking to expand,” said Baacke. “This new center as well as the administrative organization that goes with it will help enable the university to do that more effectively.”
Baacke said classes in the building will likely be ones that are offered on North Campus because there is more schedule pressure on classrooms on North than there are on South. Previously a nursing home, a comprehensive renovation is being done on the building. The building will be ready for offices to start relocating in late April and it will be fully occupied and operating by the end of May.