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Berklee Digs Back Bay

Berklee Digs Back Bay
Berklee College of Music's first new building,  $100M bldg designed by William Rawn Architects.
By fall '13, Berklee College of Music will have the first new building it has ever developed, a $100M, 18-story stunner designed by William Rawn Architects. With two levels below ground, Esperanza Spalding?s alma mater will then have a top notch acoustical setting for a state-of-the-art recording studio, says Chris Pennie, VP of construction for Lee Kennedy Co, the GC on the job. This frumpy strip of Mass Ave has long been underdeveloped compared to its upscale Back Bay neighbors. But Chris says the location poses all the challenges of this popular urban area. It's still densely packed with residences (the nearest are eight feet away), which limits the hours they can work. Also, the site is just steps away from a major Verizon facility that provides critical phone and data service to the city.
construction on Berklee College of Music first new building
By yesterday, LK Co had dug 25 feet below street level. Of course, in the Back Bay that means they're working well below the water table. That's why the crew drove steel sheet piles around the site perimeter that keep the soil and water from invading. Chris says that next week, they'll reach 35 feet down, and complete the excavation. Then they'll pour the mat slab and slowly work out of the hole. In September, LKCo will start installing the exterior glass and aluminum fa ade composed of pre-built panels. So fast is this approach compared to traditional stick built that Chris expects the crew to install one floor a week. By November, they'll start the interior. By spring '13, Chris expects his crews to also complete construction of the $85M library at Salem State College followed by the fall '13 completion of the $60M Edward M. Kennedy Institute next to the JFK Library and Museum where LKCo just completed an $18M addition/renovation.