Isenberg Business Innovation Hub Opens; Student Union Renovation Begins

Worcester Commons on Schedule for Fall 2020 Opening
Isenberg School of Management Business Innovation Hub
Business Innovation Hub entrance

The spring semester opens with major milestones for two campus building projects: Completion of the 70,000-square-foot Business Innovation Hub addition to the Isenberg School of Management (ISOM) and the closing of the Student Union for its first renovation since it opened in 1957.

Meanwhile, construction of the Worcester Commons building, to replace Worcester Dining Commons and include a “neighborhood center” and public restaurant, is on schedule for a fall 2020 opening.

ISOM Business Innovation Hub

Move-in is underway at the just-completed $62 million Business Innovation Hub, which will be ready for Isenberg’s 3,600 undergraduate and 1,400 graduate students when spring semester begins Jan. 22.

A formal opening ceremony is expected in April.

The addition, with its stunning copper-and-glass exterior, wraps around the north and northeast ends of ISOM and architecturally complements the neighboring Fine Arts Center and the John W. Olver Design Building across North Pleasant Street.

The Hub is highlighted by a multi-story learning commons that can be used for large, all-university gatherings and special functions such as business symposia. Its flexible design will accommodate entrepreneur-in-residence programs and experiential learning spaces for students and includes a 5,000-square-foot student common.

In additions to classrooms, conference rooms and faculty and administrative offices, the Hub features a Business Analytics Lab with multiple Bloomberg terminals.

The addition accompanies renovation of select spaces in the original 1964 Isenberg building and the 2002 addition named for Harold Alfond. Together, the new and renovated facilities create a unified ISOM campus. 

Minor exterior work remains, and some fencing will stay in place for the winter. The grounds will be sodded in the spring.

Student Union

For the first time since it opened in 1957, the Student Union is undergoing renovation—and it’s a big one.

When the building opened, there were 4,800 students enrolled on campus. Today, the Student Union serves nearly 30,000 students and more than 200 registered student organizations (RSOs).

The building closed for the work on Jan. 14, and construction fencing and temporary walkways are being completed this week.

When the building reopens for the fall 2020 semester, most interior walls will have been removed and the interior generally repartitioned. The ballroom, now on the main floor, will be one floor higher and feature exposed columns and trusses.

Students will find an active “Main Street” style promenade with concentrated retail, student services and dining options, and there will be a new entry and outdoor plaza with a streamlined connection to the Lincoln Campus Center.

Other renovations include:

  • A consolidated media center serving the Daily Collegian, UVC-TV19 and WMUA that is positioned so activity is visible from the “Main Street.

  • Expanded student business space.

  • New meeting, activity and assembly space.

  • Cape Cod Lounge will be repurposed into new, divisible, multipurpose areas for medium-sized assembly and function space.

  • Mechanical and electrical systems will be updated

For the duration of the renovation work, the building’s offices for RSOs and other student services have been temporarily relocated, most of them to Bartlett Hall. UVC-TV19 has been relocated to Herter Hall basement.

An updated list of office relocations (including RSOs), along with general project information and architect’s renderings, is online here:

Worcester Commons

Construction is well underway on the 87,000-square-foot Worcester Commons, which will replace and expand the purpose of the aging Worcester Dining Commons in the fall of 2020.

Designed to be a “neighborhood center” as well as a dining center, it will include lounges, meeting rooms, a fitness center, RSO offices, a contemplative space and music practice rooms.

Support offices for Auxiliary Enterprises will also be included. The project will preserve East Experiment Station, home to the University of Massachusetts Press which has temporarily relocated to New Africa House. 

With the building fronting North Pleasant Street, the site will include replacement of parking lot 63, loading spaces and outdoor gathering spaces.

The ground floor will hold a lounge area, exercise space, a retail café that will be open late with on-site cooking, and the campus bakery, which will move from Hampden.

The dining commons portion of the project will be on the second floor and will serve foods from around the world from multiple stations.

The third floor will feature a 90-seat restaurant serving eclectic global, seasonal cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Open to the public, the restaurant is expected to be welcomed by the campus community and beyond.

The current Worcester Dining Commons will remain open until summer 2020, and then will be razed.

Physical Sciences Building and Agricultural Barn Ceremonies

The new Physical Sciences Building incorporating West Experiment Station and the old Horse Barn, reconstructed at Wysocki Farm as the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation were both completed in 2018. Each is expected to have a formal opening ceremony in the spring.