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Boston College proposes new science center building on Chestnut Hill campus

Boston College has proposed building an Integrated Science Center on its Chestnut Hill campus that would house its new Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.BOSTON COLLEGE

Boston College is proposing a new 156,500-square foot science center building on its Chestnut Hill Middle Campus that would house laboratories, classrooms, and “maker spaces” for students, according to the school.

The proposed five-story Integrated Science Center would replace Cushing Hall, located at 245 Beacon St., the college said in project materials filed March 6 with Newton’s Planning and Development Department.

It would include offices, classrooms, and teaching laboratory space for computer science, robotics, and data visualization, and additional room for the college’s Computer Science Department and the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship.

There also will be laboratory space for researchers, including for engineering faculty, the college said. “Maker spaces” also will be provided to give students hands-on experience in prototyping research, the college said.

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The proposed science center would serve as the home for the college’s new Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, an initiative within the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, according to the college.

The institute’s mission includes creating and sustaining emerging initiatives in basic and applied science; educating the next generation of science and technology leaders and innovators; creating new tools and technologies to address societal problems; and building partnerships with industry and the public and private sectors, the college said. The proposed facilities “will foster faculty and student cooperation across departments and schools, strengthen teaching and research in the sciences, and enhance the University’s ability to advance the common good through research focused on pressing global problems.”

Cushing Hall, which was erected in 1960 and once served as the home for the college’s Connell School of Nursing, would be demolished to make room for the new building.

The project falls under the state’s Dover Amendment, a regulation that allows zoning exemptions for nonprofit schools and religious organizations. The proposal does not require a special permit, according to Ellen Ishkanian, a city spokeswoman.

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The proposal is now undergoing an administrative site review by the Planning and Development Department, which will present its findings to the city’s building commissioner, who ultimately determines whether the project moves forward, she said.

Boston College plans to begin construction in the spring.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com