A new building on a college campus is more than student's tuition dollars at work — it brings with it new opportunities, innovations and even a new approach to education that helps students carve out a path to success in a world that runs differently than it did decades ago.
To Wentworth Institute of Technology, the first new academic building on its Boston campus in more than 45 years brings all that and more.
Ground broke on a building for engineering, innovation, and sciences on Wentworth’s Huntington Avenue campus this summer, and though it won’t be occupied until 2019, the start of a new school year is already affected by the upcoming change.
“I would say this year is a differentiator for us,” said Eric Overström, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Wentworth. “In the context of these new developments at the institutional level, all the way to include students and faculty, the entire community is already elevated. There’s just a buzz across campus.”
As the new academic year started, students saw “this huge hole in the ground,” Overström said, and within a month, steel beams for the new building will go up.
The new $55 million building will be home to the school’s Biomedical and Civil Engineering programs, a Center for Innovation, a 3D manufacturing center and Wentworth’s new Biological Engineering Program that launched this fall.
Biotech is a burgeoning field in Boston, and this new program will appeal to students who want to focus on technology but also adapt their skills to new industries. Biology has become a tech-heavy sector, aligning with an engineering mindset for projects like human genome sequencing and understanding the genetic basis of diseases.
“Many of the traditional fields of science and engineering and increasingly humanities and social sciences are now becoming blurred,” Overström said.
Studies need to be interdisciplinary across topics, he added, “and institutions like Wentworth that have a rich history in the technological applied aspect of things can now reach out and literally expand their mission in ways that really educate and train future leaders in these spaces.”
The new building is opening opportunities not only to students, but to faculty and the city of Boston as well. Wentworth aims to be a pipeline to provide graduates trained for the new tech industries setting up home here and to provide an innovative education that serves students beyond their final exams.
“[Studying at Wentworth] is not just a four year block of time, this is lifetime experience," Overström said. “The physical evidence of that is not just the new building, but the new building being utilized in a completely different context and philosophy than buildings that have been on campus for 50 years. .. It’s the first embodiment of our clear commitment to this.”