About the Project

Brandeis is moving forward with plans to construct a new residence hall to replace the student housing that is currently part of the Usen Castle complex. The new residence hall will provide full accessibility and modern energy efficiency, becoming the greenest and most sustainable building on campus. It will allow for more beds than the previous housing did, thus helping us achieve our goal of housing more Brandeis students on campus. In response to student feedback about amenities needed in campus housing, the new residence hall will include dedicated study rooms and ample common spaces for gatherings and events.

The project to construct a new residence hall has been discussed with the campus community over the past year. Our campus operations and planning teams have worked with a first-rate team of experts — architects, engineers, designers — to develop the project. Brandeis will retain for now towers A and B on the site — the two most visible sections with the most iconic portions of the Castle. Cholmondeley’s Coffee House in tower B will be renovated, with student input, over the summer of 2017.  

Residence Hall Features

  • 164 beds, in a combination of double and single rooms. This adds approximately 60 beds more than previously available on the site.
  • A new upper campus common space available to students, including:
    • A large common room seating up to 100 (or flexible open space)
    • A smaller studio room for multiple purposes
    • A large kitchen area
    • A/V and acoustic equipment, and storage to support performances and lectures
  • Study spaces, including four dedicated study rooms for 8-10 students each, plus six individual study or reading nooks throughout the building.
  • “Hang out” spaces, including four common area lounges with seating for 8-12 each, two with televisions, one with common kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard.

Sustainability and Accessibility Features

  • A 30-40 well geothermal system will heat and cool the building.
  • Solar panels on the roof will partially power the residence hall, provide a small amount of carbon offsets against our carbon footprint inventory, and help with peak campus demand management.
  • The building will include elevators, an open and inviting main stairway, and easier movement between floors.

Project Team

  • William Rawn Associates, architect
  • Leggat McCall Properties, project management
  • BOND, construction manager
  • Brandeis Campus Operations and Campus Planning teams

Project Timeline

  • Winter 2017 – pre-demolition work in Usen Castle
  • Spring 2017 – site preparation begins
  • May 2017 (after finals) – demolition of portions of previous building
  • Summer 2017 – renovation of Chums Coffeehouse
  • Summer 2018 – new residence hall opens for Fall 2018 semester

Project Financing

  • Total estimated project budget: $38,000,000
  • Financing: bond financing