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Work to start on Suffolk University complex

Downtown site target date is ’15

Suffolk University will break ground this week on a $62 million, 10-story academic building in downtown Boston.

The facility at 20 Somerset St. will house 1,100 classroom seats, a cafeteria, student support services, and indoor and outdoor lounging areas, campus officials said. It is expected to open by fall 2015.

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The project, approved by the city in February, is part of an effort by Suffolk to move parts of its campus away from residential areas of Beacon Hill, where neighbors have complained about noise, traffic, and other problems from the high volume of students around their homes.

The university paid the state $8 million to buy the parcel of land where the former headquarters of the Metropolitan District Commission stood before it was demolished this summer.

Suffolk proposed building a 22-story dorm on the site in 2006. That plan faced criticism from some neighbors and city officials.

The university later received city approval for a 10-story art and design school building before announcing its latest plan to change the classroom space to science and general academic use.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to join university officials for the ground-breaking ceremony scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@ globe.com. For more coverage of area colleges and universities, visit boston.com/yourcampus.
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