In 2006, when he came to Northeastern University from the University of Southern California, one of Joseph Aoun’s first decisions was to move the president’s office to Roxbury. Now, as he works on the latest leap in the school’s decades-long transformation, Aoun is trying to bring Northeastern’s campus to him.
Northeastern officials aim to make a new science center in Roxbury the first building in a 10-year master plan that includes up to $2 billion in construction projects. “We felt that this is a prime statement,” Aoun said in an interview in his offices, which overlook the planned site for the science center. “The most important aspect of the new master plan, which is furthering our research capabilities and leadership, is going to be done on our footprint facing and engaging the community.”
At 3 million square feet of proposed new construction on university land, Northeastern’s plan is more than twice the size of Harvard University’s master plan for Allston. With up to 2 million square feet of new academic facilities, it represents the building component of a third phase in Northeastern’s transformation from a commuter college to a research institution.