broke ground on a new at 160 Mass Ave. - the first of three planned buildings that will add 500,000 square feet of classroom, performance, administrative, student life, and dorm space for 800 students.
"For the first time in our history, we're starting with a piece of land and building our way up," Berklee President Roger Brown said during a ceremony overlooking the construction site Wednesday afternoon.
The $100 million project is designed with floor to ceiling windows and includes 4,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space ideas for a restaurant with live music. The total 155,000 square foot building will have practice and ensemble rooms, a fitness center, student lounges, a two-story dining with 400 seats that will double as a student performance venue, and a music technology center with sound-proof recording studios.
Designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects. Inc. of Boston, it's scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
With 570 new dorm rooms for about 370 students, the college will also be able to house all of its incoming students for the first time. In addition, it will move students from the surrounding area closer to campus while freeing up homes for city residents - an initiative Mayor Thomas M. Menino has spearheaded throughout the last decade.
"It reduces traffic and frees up housing for working families," Menino said about the project. In the last 10 years Boston has added more than 10,000 students beds at schools across the city, with about 4,000 more either in works or in the pipeline.
"Berklee has been a valuable community partner and I'm happy to see the college expanding it's footprint in Boston," Menino said.
Construction will be done by 315 union workers, and the project will create 15 permanent jobs.
"The most important thing is putting people back to work," Menino said.
Berklee officials worked closely with neighbors on the design of the project. Resident Walter Hunt commended the college for it's transparency in including the public in the review process.
"It will be an exciting addition to the neighborhood," he said, "and help free up much needed housing in the community."