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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.

Map of campus that shows the following locations. South Campus: Historic Main Quadrangle Renovation, Berkeley Street Gateway, Student Recreation/Social Areas, Residence Hall Renovations, St John's Performance Center. Doble Campus: Amphitheater Restoration, Mellen Street Gateway. Porter Campus: New Exterior Student Patio/Dining Area, Student Concierge Center in University Hall, Enhanced Lunder Hall Court, University Hall Main Entrance
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Campus Plan Updates

  • January 2024 Update

    The Campus Plan for Lesley University is a significant segment of the Better Lesley initiative. The Operations team oversees the implementation of the campus plan after it has been approved by the Board of Trustees. Our Campus Plan is designed to enhance the student experience at Lesley by updating historical buildings on South Campus, maintaining our existing spaces on Doble Campus, and reimagining the space we use at Porter Campus.

    The current construction project at South Campus encompasses a complete renovation to Reed Burnham. It also includes infrastructure improvements and a new grounds plan that better serves students, both current and prospective, faculty and staff. Much of the former Episcopal Divinity School campus was built in the 19th century, so upgrades to buildings, grounds and the infrastructure that feeds into them are long overdue.

    Photo of construction in a building

    The new Reed Burnham will be considered one building. There will be an interior bridge on the second floor that will connect the space, along with a renovated arcade on the quad side of the exterior. We are about halfway through the project in Reed Burnham renovation. Our new elevator is being built into the space; the new slate roof is being installed. We have begun to close walls inside the building as we complete new plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems. In addition to updating the Tyler Room in Burnham Hall, we are building a new conference and gathering space that will span two floors with windows out to the new beautifully landscaped quad.

    Photo of inside an elevator shaft

    We began to make grounds improvements in the outdoor spaces near Rousmaniere and Kidder House in 2023 by adding furniture and outdoor games for student use. The next phase will include a new parking lot with EV charging stations and a basketball court next to 101 Brattle. The quad will be landscaped with grassy areas and walking paths connecting the buildings. There will also be a new garden placed in the area near Lawrence Hall that was a parking lot and is currently used for construction activities.

    The team is very focused on incorporating sustainable practices into the construction, as well. We are reclaiming granite from curbs, steps, and window wells to use in the garden. Wood trim from the Reed and Burnham buildings is being placed into the new construction where the design allows.

    Although there are not large-scale construction projects being done at Doble Campus, we completed renovations to Ava’s Café in 2023. These improvements allowed for our new dining plans and the technology to implement the order ahead system that is being rolled out in the Spring semester 2024. The athletics, Green Room (part of Marran Theatre) and Campus safety spaces have been refreshed and 23 Mellen has been renovated to accommodate student facing services in one location. The Marran Theatre received audio visual updates as well.

    Photo of yellow building on Mellen St

    As we work through our phased real estate plan with the sales of some buildings, we plan to restructure Lot C parking by demolishing the building that is 33 ½ Mellen St., the yellow building in the middle of the parking lot behind 61 Oxford St. This will allow us to reconfigure the lot and accommodate parking more effectively.

    The transformation of University Hall at Porter Campus has begun and will continue for the next few years. We converted the former Partner’s Healthcare space into the Support Hub so one-stop assistance is more accessible to students and their families. The former Enterprise Car Rental location was transformed into a second location for Admissions to operate. Athletics was provided a new space in UHALL to meet with prospective student athletes and their families, as well. On the third floor, we built a new lounge for faculty and students and updated the faculty office spaces. We also added the Lesley On The Go store at Porter Café that is planned to open in February 2024.

    Photo of the admissions office with green sign that says make change happen

    There are more upgrades to University Hall planned. Stay tuned for more information.

    The Operations Team welcomes input from the Lesley community on these initiatives. Please send questions or comments to feedback@lesley.edu.

3-5 years
Major capital improvements
We have engaged a talented team of architects, designers, and real estate professionals to help us fully realize the vision of making major capital investments over the next 3-5 years.
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.
-Janet L. Steinmayer, Lesley University President
view of Massachusetts avenue in cambridge
Community Partnership
photo of lunder arts center and church along a busy inresection under a clear blue sky
Values Alignment

Learn More

  • Background

    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.

  • Our Vision

    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.

  • Initial Projects

    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.

    Leggat McCall Properties and Graffito SP are consulting on development and retail strategy.

  • 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 chris.sower@cushwake.com.

  • Press Release

    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.

    Read our press release (PDF).

  • Community Engagement

    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.

Please reach out to the following individuals with your questions.