Going up

Music building, dormitory will enrich campus life

Construction has begun on two buildings that will transform the southeast corner of the Medford/Somerville campus and contribute to the residential, academic and cultural life of the entire Tufts community.

A view of the new music building, left, next to the existing Aidekman Arts Center.

Earlier this spring, crews started infrastructure and utility work for a new dorm, Sophia Gordon Hall, and a new music building. The buildings will be located across from each other on Talbot Avenue, near the intersection of College Avenue. Construction on both projects is expected to be finished by fall 2006.

“These will be handsome buildings. For visitors arriving from [the direction of] Powderhouse Circle, they will create a sense of arrival,” said John Roberto, Tufts’ vice president of operations.

Sophia Gordon Hall will encompass 62,000 square feet and accommodate 125 beds in approximately 30 suite arrangements, each consisting of four single rooms with a living room, kitchen and bathroom. The majority of the building will be four stories high, with an additional fifth story extending over a small portion, Roberto said. The dorm will include a multi-purpose room that can seat 150 people for residential life and academic activities. The new dorm will cost $23 million and will be named in honor of the wife of Dr. Bernard Gordon, H92, co-founder and president of Neuro-Logica Corp. of Danvers, Mass., and a university trustee.

Green dorm
A noteworthy feature of the dorm will be its two solar energy components: photovoltaic cells that can collect energy to supplement the electrical system and solar-thermal collectors to supplement the heating system. Both the dorm and the music building incorporate elements of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, a voluntary set of standards for high-performance, sustainable buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Rendering of Sophia Gordon Hall, featuring two four-story wings with a connecting link in the middle.

The $27 million music building will be located on a portion of what is now the Cohen Auditorium parking lot, adjacent to the Aidekman Arts Center. The 55,000-square-foot building, which will be connected by a corridor to Cohen Auditorium, will feature a 300-seat recital hall of broadcast and recording quality. It also will house classrooms, a seminar room, office space for the music department, a music library, a world music room, major rehearsal space and practice rooms.

“We see this new music building as an outstanding opportunity for the music program to reach its full potential,” said Janet Schmalfeldt, associate professor and chair of music. “We’re a small department, but we offer exciting academic and performance courses for more than 1,000 Tufts students. We put on more than 80 concerts and recitals [annually], and we fully believe that with this new facility, we can become one of the most distinguished music programs in New England.”

During construction, the university will lose use of the entire Cohen parking lot, Roberto said. After the music building is completed, about 65 spots will be restored to the lot. “We’re in the process of having interim parking plans put in place for the rest of 2005, reallocating and redistributing university parking among faculty and staff, commuting students and residential students,” Roberto said.

Sophia Gordon Hall was designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston. The music building was designed by Babcock Design Group of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Perkins & Will of Boston. The construction company for both projects is Linbeck of Lexington, Mass.

Helene Ragovin is a senior writer in Tufts’ Office of Publications. She can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu.