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Suffolk University breaks ground on new academic building on 20 Somerset St.

Suffolk University held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new academic building at Boston’s 20 Somerset St. with Mayor Thomas M. Menino among the dignitaries in attendance.

Designed by NBBJ, an architecture firm with an office in Boston, the 10-story building will hold flexible classrooms that look to support active learning. Many of the classrooms will be set aside for so-called STEM education. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

The new building is set to be completed in the fall of 2015. Plans call for classrooms now located on Temple Street to move to the new building.


The new building is being constructed on the site of the former Metropolitan District Commission headquarters, a long vacant building that has been removed.

In a statement, Suffolk University president James McCarthy said: The 20 Somerset academic building will provide Suffolk students with a whole new learning environment designed to connect them more closely with faculty and peers for a collaborative and interactive approach to scholarship. The building also will enhance our teaching of the sciences. In a state that leads the world in the life science industries, Suffolk is focused on providing a science curriculum that prepares graduates to step into important jobs in those fields.”

Suffolk University is currently made up of 14 buildings in the city’s Downtown and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. Including graduate and law schools, the university has about 9,200 students.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.