We will improve and modernize our facilities to reflect Lesley’s innovative approach and better integrate and use each of the campuses and their respective public spaces.
“We are very excited about the potential for this plan to enhance the learning environment for our students and solidify Lesley’s standing as a leader in human arts education through disciplines that foster the deep human connections essential to a healthy society. We will be investing in major capital improvements over the next 3 to 5 years and have engaged a talented team of architects, designers, and real estate professionals to help us fully realize this vision. Lesley is deeply committed to remaining a good neighbor and community partner and seeking mutually beneficial enhancements to our campuses that invest in the potential of our students and enrich our community. We are confident that the changes we envision will be well-aligned with Cambridge’s needs and values.”
—Janet L. Steinmayer, Lesley University President
The Campus Plan reflects several years of internal discussions about how our campus facilities can provide a state-of-the-art learning environment to support Lesley’s mission and core strengths.
In developing the plan’s goals and vision, we looked closely at the operational efficiency and sustainability of each of the 60 buildings on our 3 Cambridge campuses and talked with our faculty and staff about their current and aspirational space and facility needs.
Their ideas have helped to shape a conceptual vision for how our physical assets could meet existing and emerging programmatic needs, support new modes of instruction, foster close collaboration, and deepen connections with the surrounding community.
In May 2021, we shared a conceptual planning vision with our Board of Trustees and with faculty and staff at a Town Hall meeting. In Fall 2021, we publicly announced the plan’s conceptual vision and goals and launched a broader community engagement process.
The conceptual vision will be further defined and implemented over the next 3 to 5 years. Our goal is to improve and align Lesley’s campus facilities with our mission as an urban university with programs that live at the intersection of education, counseling and psychology, and the visual arts.
The changes we envision will provide a coherent and consistent Lesley identity across all three campuses, each of which has and would retain a distinct architectural and neighborhood context.
Each campus will be organized to serve a clear purpose within the university’s larger mission and will be connected by visual cues, such as the presence of art, that will establish a shared Lesley look and feel.
Together, the changes will ensure that Lesley is well-positioned to meet the evolving educational needs of our students, while contributing positively to the cultural and economic vitality of the Cambridge community.
The early projects we envision include:
- Renovations to certain buildings on the historic former Episcopal Divinity School campus in Harvard Square such as transforming St. John’s Chapel into a multi-use performance space; restoring Reed Hall, the centerpiece of what we now call South Campus; and updating each of the student residence halls over a three-year period.
- Revitalization of our flagship University Hall in Porter Square to provide a defining and more welcoming entry and state-of-the-art classrooms and academic work spaces, while continuing to house a vibrant mix of retail businesses to serve neighborhood and student needs.
- Landscaping, outdoor seating and artwork across all 3 campuses designed to retain the distinct architectural and neighborhood context and provide a more welcoming and cohesive Lesley identity and sense of place for our community and our neighbors.
Campus Planning and Design Partners
We are working with local and New England-based partners Austin Architects, Centerbrook Architects and Planners, Stimson Studio, and Group C to conceive and execute the architectural, landscaping, and other work we've described.
A More Efficient and Sustainable Footprint
As part of our multi-year plan, we intend to sell several buildings that are either underutilized, vacant, or not well-suited to our programmatic needs. We will reinvest the proceeds in a range of capital improvements to yield significantly better facilities overall with greater energy efficiency, sustainability, and accessibility.
Cushman & Wakefield will represent Lesley in the marketing and sale of these properties.
Please direct all inquiries to Chris Sower, Executive Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to share our planning vision with neighbors, city officials, and other stakeholders and will continue to engage with the community as our plan evolves and project designs take shape. Internally, we are forming user groups comprised of faculty, staff, and students to provide input on functional elements and space priorities for the initial projects.
Lesley University launched a community engagement process in the late fall of 2021 by sharing its conceptual plans for the initial projects with city officials and with residents at neighborhood group meetings (Harvard Square Neighborhood Association, Agassiz Neighborhood Council, Porter Square Neighborhood Association). As our designs evolve further, we will continue to engage with neighborhood groups, residents, as well as with city staff and city councilors.