Lesley University announces its intention to make major investments in its three Cambridge campuses to innovate and transform its learning environment and public spaces for the benefit of the university and the community


  • Intends to invest in major capital improvements over the next three to five years

  • Goals include better alignment of spaces with Lesley’s unique academic programs, sustainable revitalization of facilities and landscape, and deeper connection and integration of the three campuses.

  • Preliminary concepts include concentration of the real estate portfolio to reduce footprint and increase efficiency while adding critical facilities

  • Look forward to partnering with the Cambridge community to achieve the best possible outcome

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 30, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – Lesley University has announced plans to make significant investments in its three Cambridge campuses to enhance student learning potential and better support its unique suite of programs around the arts human beings in teacher training, counseling and psychology and in the creation and visualization of the arts. The plans will enhance and modernize facilities to reflect Lesley’s innovative approach and better integrate and use each of the campuses and their respective public spaces.

Lesley will begin a community engagement process in fall 2021 to further outline their vision and solicit input from city officials, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders on how Lesley can best align their goals. with those in the Cambridge community to create environments that welcome and inspire all who inhabit these spaces.

Describing the vision for the campus plan, President Janet L. Steinmayer said, “We are very excited that this plan can improve the learning environment for our students and solidify Lesley’s position as A leader in human arts education through disciplines that foster the deep human connections essential to a healthy society. We will be investing in major capital improvements over the next three to five years and have engaged a talented team of architects, designers and real estate professionals to help us fully realize this vision. Lesley is deeply committed to remaining a good neighbor and community partner and to seeking mutually beneficial improvements for our campuses that invest in the potential of our students and our community. We are confident that the changes we envision will be well aligned with Cambridge’s needs and values.

The first projects to potentially include:

  • Renovations of several key buildings on the historic former Episcopal Divinity School campus, such as: the transformation of St. John’s Chapel into a multi-purpose performance space and black box theater; restore Reed Hall, the centerpiece of this campus on Brattle Street; and the renovation of each of the student residences over a three-year period.

  • The revitalization of its University Pavilion in Porter Square to provide a defined and more welcoming entrance, as well as state-of-the-art classrooms and university offices, while continuing to house a dynamic mix of retail businesses to cater for the needs of neighborhood and student needs.

  • Landscaping and outdoor seating on all three campuses designed to retain the distinct architectural and neighborhood context and provide a more welcoming and cohesive campus identity and sense of place for Lesley and her neighbors.

As part of its comprehensive multi-year campus plan, Lesley intends to sell certain buildings that are either underutilized, vacant, or not well suited to its programmatic needs and to reinvest the proceeds in a range of capital improvements to produce significantly better facilities overall. Reducing the number of facilities will also increase the energy efficiency, sustainability and accessibility of the school.

Together, these changes aim to position Lesley to meet the evolving educational needs of its diverse student body while positively contributing to the cultural and economic vitality of the Cambridge community.

Campus planning partners

Lesley works with local and New England-based partners Austin Architects, Centerbrook Architects and Planners, Stimson Studio and Group C to design and execute the architectural, landscaping and other work described above. Cushman & Wakefield will handle real estate sales. Leggat McCall Properties and Graffito are retail development and strategy consultants.

About Lesley

Lesley University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the most dynamic learning environments in the country, focuses solely on the human arts, with programs that lie at the intersection of education, counseling and visual arts.

Lesley’s students study at four schools and colleges – a professionally-oriented liberal arts college, an independent college of art and design, a graduate school of education, and a graduate school of social sciences – as well as the program Threshold, a residential program for students with a variety of learning differences.

We educate the people – teachers, counselors, therapists, social workers, artists, policy makers, writers and business leaders – who practice these arts and act as catalysts for a more connected and just world .

For more information

Please visit Lesley.edu/Campus-Plan or email [email protected]

See the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210930005926/en/


Zechariah Tramonti
Sard Verbinnen & Co.
[email protected]
(617) 546-4250


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