One Simmons

Information and updates on our three-phased strategic campus modernization project for our community, neighbors, and stakeholders.

A rendering of the Simmons University campus

A Campus That Works: Overview

For almost a decade, Simmons has been working diligently to envision our University for the future through extensive planning and discussion. “One Simmons” is the result of this work. It is a three-phased strategic construction project that will combine our two campuses to enhance the student experience through the updating of our academic campus, the modernization our library and science facilities, and the construction of a new Living and Learning Center (LLC) on the main campus. One Simmons is the best opportunity for us to create a meaningful Simmons experience for future generations of students as well as faculty, staff and alumnae/i.

Our Institutional Master Plan (IMP), which was approved by the Boston Planning and Development Authority in November 2020, outlines the vision for One Simmons in more detail. It presents a 10-year plan for our Residence and Academic campuses, detailing the renovation of the existing Lefavour Hall to accommodate our science program and laying out the One Simmons vision for one, unified campus.
 
In recent months, our campus has completed the first phase of our renovation project with the updating of our academic campus. Phase two, which will create brand new science and library spaces, is scheduled to be finished in May 2022. We are excited to modernize our campus to support our academic programs and to improve our student living and learning experience.
 
Thanks to careful, prudent fiscal management, we are approaching these important projects from a position of financial strength.

One Simmons Project Phases

What is the vision for One Simmons?

The vision for One Simmons is a modern, unified campus that best supports our academic programs and enhances the living and learning experience for Simmons students. It is the culmination of years of thoughtful and creative planning.

What is the One Simmons project?

One Simmons is a three-phased strategic construction project that will ultimately combine our two campuses to enhance the student experience through the updating of our academic buildings, the modernization of our science facilities, and the construction of a new Living and Learning Center (LLC) on the main campus. With the completion of the first phase of the One Simmons project, we have achieved greater utilization of our academic spaces, created more student facing locations, eliminated significant deferred maintenance, and brought our academic buildings up to current safety and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) code standards. The second phase of the project, which is creating new library and science facilities, is scheduled to be complete in May 2022.

Where can I learn more about the One Simmons project?

Continue to check this page for the latest updates.

Is the institution's name change to "Simmons University" part of this project?

No. We became Simmons University in fall of 2018 when we introduced our new academic structure, which includes our four colleges.

How can I support the One Simmons project?

You can support the One Simmons project by contacting Beth Kramer, Vice President of Advancement, at [email protected]. Advancement looks forward to connecting with you.

What is the Living and Learning Center?

The Living and Learning Center will be a vibrant epicenter for the entire Simmons community, providing modern living, athletic, study, and dining spaces for students and the opportunity for greater connection, wellness experiences, and events. The building has approximately 1,100 beds for our students, a dining facility, and a recreational/sports center. A living and learning community brings together the best of the college experience: dining, wellness/fitness, gathering spaces, attractive and safe residence spaces. It is a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible space for our entire community to experience the best of a Simmons education.

How will Simmons work to give current students the homey/family feel of the residence halls in a tower?

The Student Affairs team, led by Vice President Renique Kersh have begun to plan for the move to the new building in the fall of 2025. The community feel of the current residence campus may be achieved in a variety of ways — theme floors, community events within the building, student community events in the dining facility, among others. The Living and Learning Center will provide a variety of opportunities for wellness, events, community-building, and lasting connections in a space that is more conducive to the needs of today's students. It will offer the type of modern living, athletic, study, and dining spaces that students are seeking today, and serve as a vibrant epicenter for all members of our Simmons community.

Will the new LLC house fewer students than the current dorms do? If so, how will Simmons support student housing?

The new Living and Learning Center will have approximately 1,100 beds, which is actually a greater capacity for housing than the current Residence Campus. The traditional on-campus undergraduate residential experience continues to be central to the Simmons mission. First year students are currently required to live on campus, a policy that will likely continue with the new Living and Learning Center.

How will the LLC be organized? What kind of living accommodations will be available for students (singles, doubles, triples, suites, etc.)

We have designed a mix of uses. There will be singles, doubles, a few triples, and two doubles connected by a private bath.

With the LLC replacing the Park Science Center, which departments will have reduced space, and how will that impact their work?

The Park Science Center is being replaced by a carefully designed, fully modern science and library building, currently under construction. The design and project team took great care to ensure that the needs of faculty and students are not only met, but enhanced with this project. We are tremendously excited to see what our students will accomplish in the new building.

How will other resources currently on the residential campus (the sports center, health services, etc.) be impacted by the Living and Learning Center?

These services and resources will live on the academic campus in new, updated and modernized facilities.

What's the timeline for constructing the Living and Learning Center? How long will it take?

The plan is to demolish the Park Science Building in the fall of 2022 and to break ground on the new Living and Learning Center immediately following. Currently, the construction timeline allows us to move into the Living and Learning Center in the fall of 2025.

Has the residence campus been sold?

No. Simmons will enter into a ground lease agreement with development partner Skanska, but the University continues to own the land.

Who will be leasing the residence campus?

Skanska Commercial Development will ground lease the residence campus. Simmons chose Skanska because of the firm's expertise in green building and unique mix of global experience combined with a strong Boston-based team that has significant knowledge of this market. In addition, Skanska has developed a variety of programs and initiatives to further its commitment to women leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Just as important, this project and the mission of Simmons is important to Skanska.

Why is the university selling/leasing/developing this land?

Simmons is leasing this land for a variety of reasons. One of our many goals for the One Simmons campus redesign is to be fiscally prudent, and utilizing proceeds from a ground lease will help fund the construction of the Living and Learning Center. While the residential campus is a memorable part of the Simmons experience for many alumnae/i, the space has not felt as accessible for our commuter and graduate students. In addition, the current buildings on the residential campus, which are limited by their structures and age, make it impossible to offer the type of modern living, athletic, study, and dining spaces that students are seeking.

How long will the lease of the residential campus last?

The ground lease lasts for 99 years.

What will happen to the residential campus after the lease ends?

The land and the development on top of it will revert to Simmons ownership

What does the developer plan to do with the residence campus?

According to its recent filing with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, Skanksa is planning to create a vibrant mixed-used development that will include 2.3 acres of open space, innovative workspaces, active community amenities, rental housing, exterior and interior open spaces, wider sidewalks, and more bike and streetscape improvements.

Will the residence halls still exist? Will alumnae/i have the opportunity to stay in those dorms again?

The residence campus will be completely redeveloped in accordance with the plan above. Demolition of the current residence campus will not begin until late 2025, at the earliest.

How will Simmons commemorate the old residence halls?

We are considering a variety of ways to commemorate the residential campus and will share additional updates — including a process for alumnae/i to provide input.

What will happen to Alumni Hall?

Alumni Hall is part of the current residence campus, so the current structure will be demolished. The new dining facility in the Living and Learning Center has been designed for large events, as has the new gymnasium.

Will the Simmons community have access to that which is developed on the residence campus?

Skanska's current plan calls for 2.3 acres of open space, retail, active community amenities, exterior and interior open spaces, wider sidewalks, and more bike and streetscape improvements. Many of these spaces will be open to the Simmons community and members of the public.

The residence campus quad played a significant part in the Simmons alumna/i experience. Are there plans to develop a similar space elsewhere?

A green roof-deck is part of the Living and Learning Design - this space will have plantings, seating areas, and places for both quiet contemplation, reading, yoga, and other events. Plans to further enhance our outdoor spaces, the quad, the labyrinth, and other seating areas are in consideration for the centralized campus.

Can we ever "change our minds" i.e can we ever reestablish a residential campus on the Brookline/Pilgrim road land?

Following the 99-year ground lease term, Simmons will get the land back. At that time, the University can decide how best to utilize that location. The development, built by Skanska, will be owned by the University at that time.

Can alumnae/i visit the residence campus before it is demolished?

Yes! Alumnae/i are welcome to visit campus anytime and there will certainly be opportunities to visit at Reunion.

Where will students be housed in the absence of the residence halls?

The agreement we have with Skanska allows our students to remain in our current residence halls until we take occupancy of the new Living and Learning Center. At that time our undergraduates will live in the new building.

Will alumnae/i returning to campus for future Reunions stay in the LLC?

Yes! We can't wait to welcome you to the 18th floor for amazing views of Boston!

A Campus Designed For You

In 2021, we updated and created a number of spaces to improve the living and learning environment for all current and future Simmons students.

Headshot of Lynn Perry Wooten

About the President

Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation is the ninth president of Simmons University.

About the President