Simmons celebrates the completion of the second phase of the One Simmons project by officially unveiling a state-of-the-art science center and renovated library.
On May 23, Simmons University President Lynn Perry Wooten, Chair of the Board of Trustees Regina Pisa, Library Director Vivienne Piroli, Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral and Health Sciences Lepaine Sharp-McHenry, Vice President of University Real Estate Laura Brink Pisinski, Former Boston Children's Hospital CEO Sandra L. Fenwick '72, alumnae/i, and students gathered for an in-person celebration of the new Lefavour Hall.
This major milestone of the One Simmons Project not only showcases Simmons' leadership in the health and library sciences, it advances the institution's critical mission of educating the next generation of leaders in STEM.
"One Simmons has transformed every inch of this small, urban campus," said Regina Pisa. "We have created spaces for our students to collaborate, to relax, to socialize, and to learn. We have built a state-of-the-art lab facility with a 30-bed simulation center, which allows students and faculty to innovate together." Pisa spoke from a room in the library, a space that was "intentionally designed to welcome students together for conversation, study, and contemplation."
Physics major Dan Nguyen '23 shared her recent experiences working in the new laboratory space. "The new building made it possible to work on several projects at once. I would be building my experiment setup while two other groups of students fixed their robotic systems and made brain models with the microwave. Since the projects are not scattered in many rooms like before, we see each other all the time and often share the things we built and help each other improve the setups. There is also an abundant amount of natural light that made working in the lab a very nice experience, and many students would spend all day working on their thesis projects here. Having experienced both the previous science center and the new one, I can confidently say that this space will help many future students see themselves as scientists and engineers."
One Simmons reflects the strategic direction of the University and focuses on creating a connected, accessible, and inclusive campus that prioritizes student and academic space and provides new workforce development opportunities. The three-phased strategic plan will combine Simmons' residential and academic campuses, modernize Simmons' science and library facilities, and include a Living and Learning Center (LLC) in the heart of the main campus. One Simmons is the physical representation of Simmons' student-centered philosophy, designed to further Simmons' mission of educating undergraduate and graduate students for independence, leadership, and social impact.
For the past 125 years, Simmons University has been a vital institution within the Fenway and Longwood Medical and Academic Area. The new health science facilities will help educate the next generation of leaders in the health sciences by giving them access to the same state-of-the-art equipment used in clinical settings. Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the 80,000 square foot science center located in Lefavour Hall. This building features over 22,000 square feet of laboratory space. The labs are also accessible to nearby medical institutions looking to collaborate with a historic women's University.
The reimagined library, also in Lefavour Hall, occupies over 14,000 square feet of study and collaborative learning space, the University Archives, and the physical collection of printed books, archives, and other research materials.
Vice President Laura Brink Pisinski conveyed that this project would not be possible without Simmons' strategic partner, Redgate. "We are grateful to Redgate for their partnership on One Simmons since 2017 and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish through 2026," Pisinski said at the event. "They have guided us through every phase of this transformative journey — One Simmons wouldn't be the success that it is without them. They guided us through COVID, through a complicated permitting process, and through complex financial negotiations — their partnership is second to none."
Throughout every stage of the One Simmons project, Redgate has helped Simmons plan, finance, and execute a real estate strategy that aligns with the University's mission. "Smart, optimized use of real estate assets and facilities are integral to ensuring the long-term sustainability of institutions of higher education," said Thomas Hamill of Redgate. "The Redgate team was honored to partner with Simmons University on the One Simmons project, ensuring that the reimagined Simmons campus will continue to serve students, attract leading faculty, inspire donors, and invigorate surrounding communities for generations to come."
In a few weeks, Simmons will embark on the final phase of the One Simmons project with the start of construction of the Simmons LLC. Set to open its doors in 2026, the LLC will be a vibrant epicenter for the entire Simmons community, linking Simmons' residential and academic buildings for the first time. The LLC will provide modern, accessible living, athletic, social, and dining spaces for students. It will include a green roof terrace, an 80,000 square foot NCAA athletic facility, and 1,100 resident beds.
For President Wooten, One Simmons is the result of a decade of planning and hard work. "This new [science] center represents so much more than just a physical space," Wooten said. "It reflects the strategic direction of our University and advances Simmons' longstanding leadership in the library sciences, nursing, and health sciences. At a time when the field of higher education continues to rapidly evolve and there is increased competition for a shrinking pool of students, institutions must evolve and adapt in order to not only survive, but thrive. Simmons is committed to accelerating pathways to meaningful careers and developing students with the leadership skills needed to create a more just world. These investments in our campus not only help us achieve those goals, they enable us to attract and retain students by providing the twenty-first-century living and learning opportunities they are seeking."
President Wooten reflected on how Simmons "is a special place where women and other under-represented populations can come to learn in a supportive, inspired, and inclusive community. A community that is revered in the City and is crucial to bolster the helping professions that we all rely upon... One Simmons is the physical manifestation of the University's mission and allows us to continue the great work of educating our remarkable students."