Two local nonprofits, The Martin Richard Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, on Wednesday filed with city officials their joint proposal for a 75,000 square-foot family-focused facility in Columbia Point. The move kickstarts the city’s review process for large projects such as the facility.
The proposed three-story building, located at 315 Mt. Vernon Street, was designed by RODE Architects and will be called the Dorchester Fieldhouse. The facility will include indoor playing fields, a walking track, fitness rooms, classrooms, a theater, and a teaching kitchen and outdoor roof garden. A public cafe, with outdoor seating, and a parking lot for 45 vehicles, are also part of the proposal.
“This facility is uniquely designed to meet the next generation of students; located intentionally to attract and impact kids most in need and programmed with elements that allow for a forward-thinking, regenerative approach to sustainability, health, wellness, and culture for all kids of all abilities,” Bill Richard, Martin Richard Foundation co-founder, said in a statement. “I am excited for the future for our kids and hopeful this facility will be a space that propels their imagination and talent to lead our city forward.”
The project comes as Columbia Point, and the roadway that cuts through it, Morrissey Boulevard, sees a surge in development. One major development, “Dorchester Bay City,” seeks to remake dozens of acres by the waterfront as part of a $5 billion effort spanning the next 20 years and including residential and office buildings, along with lab space. Separately, residential buildings are set to sprout between I-93 and Morrissey.
The proponents of the Dorchester Fieldhouse say the $50 million facility will become a “destination location” for Columbia Point. The facility is next to the McCormack Middle School and Dever Elementary School, St. Christopher’s Parish, and close to the UMass Boston campus and Boston College High School. It is also across the street from a youth center operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester.
“Now is the time for a significant generational investment that will be a transformational event for the city and our kids,” Bob Scannell, the president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester (BGCD), said in a statement. “With newer, world-class facilities, bigger and more dynamic space, we can change more lives for the next 50 years.”
An overhead view of the proposed facility. Rendering courtesy of project proponents.
BGCD and the Martin Richard Foundation are leasing the property, a former schoolyard, from Boston Public Schools in an agreement reached in March 2021. The property spans 109,569 square feet.
The project is set to be financed through private funds and fundraising from the Martin Richard Foundation and BGCD, with no public funds expected.
Construction could start by June 2022, and finish up by late 2023, according to the proponents’ 222-page filing with the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Lee Kennedy of Quincy is listed as the construction manager.