The plan for the East Area is based on a caferul inventory and assessment of existing features and issues. This background analysis considered the following: environmental factors such as topography, views, and open space; building use and historic significance; and patterns of circulation and parking. A series of planning meetings were held with stakeholders to identify additional issues of concern.


The dramatic, west-facing topography of the East Area cradled the earliest activities of the University. Fields and structures were located on these gently sloping hillsides when the campus was founded. The student market gardens, part of the expansive campus green, and the lowest edge of chestnut forest, vineyards and orchards covered what is known today as Orchard Hill.

The East Area is a long north-south terrace defined by ridges. Through its southern and central parts, Stockbridge Road runs along relatively flat land that is overlooked by an eastern ridge. As one continues north along Stockbridge Road, the land begins to fall away to the west, and eventually the road descends to this level to meet North Pleasant Street at the East Experiment Station. This curving road is flanked by the steeper slopes of Orchard Hill above and to the east and the more gentle slopes along North Pleasant Street below and to the west. See the next page for a section and diagram.


The dramatic topography described above is both a significant constraint for building and road development and a great opportunity for views. Many East Area ridgetops and windows offer spectacular views of the Berkshires to the west. Some of the historic buildings along Stockbridge Road like Clark and Wilder were well-situated to enjoy these views before the construction of Morrill severed their western visual connection. Users of other buildings on the highest, most eastern edge of the study area, can still look to the west. Other important overlooks bordering the East Area include the Chancellor’s House and the Clark Hill Memorial.

Internal and external views are also important in the study area. The Fine Arts Center’s grand walk, just across North Pleasant Street to the west, currently frames a view of the East Area’s parking lot 63. This visual terminus point must be planned to be more appealing. Views up and down Stockbridge Road are also important within the study area.

Open Space

Well-designed open space allows views, provides room for recreation, and enhances relationships between buildings.

Significant well-designed open spaces within the study area include the Rhododendron Garden, Durfee Gardens, and the Frank Waugh Garden at Hills House. These places are heavily used by the campus community for lunch breaks, meditation or quiet conversation, and performances and outdoor ceremonies. They provide a model for how other open spaces on campus should be designed and enhanced.

Unfortunately, the East Area consists mostly of undefined open spaces, which could be defined as being "left-over" spaces. Some of these areas, such as the broad hillside below Thatcher Way, permit distant views or serve as pleasant reminders of the open landscapes that characterized the University’s past.

The East Area boasts some unique features on campus. Many mature trees were planted here in the late 1800’s by President Clark. They enrich the visual and academic environment, and form a strong initial framework for the proposed Waugh Arboretum.

Assessment of Historic Significance

As one of the oldest sections on the campus, this area contains many buildings along historic Stockbridge Road that date to the early 1900’s. Despite their poor physical condition, several of these buildings serve as important physical references to the University’s heritage as a land grant institution. Collectively, these buildings define a district of historic structures. As a part of the inventory process, all of the buildings in the East Area have been evaluated for their historic significance. "Historic significance" has been granted to buildings that meet three criteria: age, historic importance, and present usefulness.

Buildings of historic significance

Though there are many potentially valuable structures within the study area, some are of special significance due to the roles they have played in the University’s development. The following structures are an integral part of the University’s heritage, due to their high architectural value or their roles in the history of the campus:

East Experiment Station: This structure was built to conduct agricultural experiments on the relationship between fungal growths and plant disease. Its Romanesque style, delicate scale, unusual detailing, and age make this a very valuable building.

Clark Hall: William Clark was the third president of the College. The Romanesque-era Clark Hall occupies an important position next to Stockbridge House, where it signals the beginning of the historic district along Stockbridge Road.

Fernald Hall: Fernald is a Georgian-revival building. In its day, it was a state-of-the-art entomology building, similar to other workhorse buildings that provided much-needed classroom and laboratory space. Today, structural problems and weak contextual relationship with other historic core buildings make its status uncertain.

French Hall: Named after the first president of the College, French Hall was built for floriculture and market gardening. Although its Georgian facade is undistinguished architecturally, French’s importance grows when its placement near Stockbridge, Wilder, and Durfee Gardens is taken into account.

The Faculty Club: Stockbridge House and the Homestead: Levi Stockbridge was the fifth president of the College. Built over 265 years ago, the colonial saltbox-style Stockbridge House is still used to house the Faculty Club. It is the oldest structure in the town of Amherst, and is a fine example of the type of architecture built in Massachusetts by European settlers in the early 1700’s.

Skinner Hall: This relatively undistinguished Georgian building was named after Edna L. Skinner, a professor of Home Economics.

Wilder Hall: Named after Marshall P. Wilder, who was the founder of the New England Horticultural Society in 1829 and the State Board of Agriculture in 1852. Wilder Hall is an eclectic blend of Italianate, Queen Anne, and Prairie Style features, and was the first building erected in the United States dedicated to landscape architecture.

Present Use

The University Apartments currently sit vacant, due to problems with asbestos and achieving ADA compliance. Due to a split-level interior floor plan, renovating this structure to meet standards of accessiblity may be very costly.

Several other East Area structures have recently been demolished due to their states of advanced deterioration and their minimal historic significance. They include:

• Marshall Hall

• Old Infirmary Cottages

The scheduled facilities audit will address this area more fully. For more information, see Appendices 1 and 2.

Patterns of Building Use

Currently, the East Area houses many of the University’s Schools and Colleges: the College of Food and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing, and the School of Education. This area also includes important support services, such as University Health Services, Student Support Services, and Student Housing.

At present, many academic departments have been consolidated into one or two buildings. Consumer Studies occupies Skinner Hall, Plant and Soil Sciences has been clustered into French Hall, and Entomology occupies Fernald Hall. Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning shares Hills House with Education. The Biology Department is largely housed in Morrill. Other related disciplines, including Geosciences, and Microbiology are also clustered into Morrill, along with Animal Care, Environmental Health and Public Health.

The Department of Art is still dispersed throughout the area. Space in six separate buildings is allocated to Art, from Clark Hall to the East Experiment Station. Furthermore, some of the structures that have historically housed the Art Department are slated for demolition. Marshall Hall has already been razed. New space for this department must be found in the near future.

See Appendix 1, Building Use Information, for more information.


The roads, open spaces, and parking lots of the East Area cover a complicated system of underground tunnels and pipes that carry lines for utilities. This underground infrastructure in the East Area is made up of several different systems, including lines for steam, water, sewage, gas, electricity, and telecommunications. In some places, elements of this infrastructure come to the surface and become part of the visible landscape. These systems are maintained by Physical Plant, except the telcom system which is maintained by the Telecommunications Systems Office.

In general, moving underground steam tunnels is the most expensive type of utility realignment. The East Area has very few steam tunnels. However, major multipurpose utility corridors pass under the northern end of Stockbridge Road and below Infirmary Way at the Central Residence Hall complex. North Pleasant Street is also a major utility corridor. Repairing breakages along this road can be problematic, due to the heavy traffic loads it bears daily . There is also a major utility node in the service corridor behind Morrill where electrical work frequently takes place.

These systems are in different stages of efficiency and disrepair. Many of the utility lines in the East Area are outdated and will soon need to be replaced. Improvements to the utility system need to be coordinated with recommendations made in this plan.

Information about costs of moving and replacement of utility lines and planned utility upgrades may be found in Appendices 5 and 6.


Pedestrian,vehicular, and service circulation within the study area all have their own requirements for clarity, efficiency and safety. Currently, there are many places where two or more of these systems are in conflict. Each is considered in turn below.

Pedestrian Circulation

Many pedestrian paths in the study area run east to west, although there are few clearly defined routes. A series of meandering pathways carries a diffused movement from east to west. They pass through the streets, buildings, and parking lots of the East Area, and cross North Pleasant Street to the campus core. The Orchard Hill and Central residential areas are major sources of pedestrians.

Many crossing points at North Pleasant Street are presently of inadequate size and safety. Another pedestrian issue is the lack of handicapped accessibility along these east-west routes.

North-south primary pedestrian corridors within the area include the walk along North Pleasant Street, and the sidewalks along Stockbridge Road. These corridors are also heavily used. Secondary pedestrian ways occur throughout the study area, and are themselves often in conflict with vehicular circulation.

Vehicular Circulation

The study area includes one of the most heavily used gateways to the campus at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and North Pleasant Street. North Pleasant Street, which runs north-south, is one of the busiest roads for through traffic on campus.

Most other traffic routes within the study area are secondary to North Pleasant Street. Stockbridge Road, Chancellors Way, Clark Hill Road, Thatcher Way, and Infirmary Way, carry a lesser, but still significant volume of mixed vehicular traffic.

Stockbridge Road: One of the oldest roads on campus, Stockbridge Road parallels North Pleasant Street but carries much lighter loads. It also provides access to many service routes for buildings in the core.

Chancellors Way: This is a minor vehicular route, providing residential and service access to the Chancellors House. It is also a major pedestrian route.

Thatcher Way: Another little-used road that connects Chancellors Way to Eastman Lane, the Worcester DC, and the Northeast residential complex.

Clark Hill Road: Infirmary Way and East Pleasant Street are connected by this road that climbs the steep grade up Clark Hill. At the top of the hill, there is a very sharp turn where the road curves around the Clark Hill Memorial. The intersection at East Pleasant Street is poorly aligned, with short sight line distances. This intersection is a hazardous one for vehicles. While it falls outside the current study area, it will be affected by changes within the study area. All of these conditions; the steepness of the hill, the sharp curve, and the dangerous intersection; have made this route impassable for bus traffic and sometimes for other vehicles when icy winter conditions prevail. It is, however, an important east-west vehicular connection.

Infirmary Way: This one-way loop provides access to the Franklin DC, University Health Services (UHS), and Central residential complex. At the UHS, the road rises approximately twelve feet to the east to pass through the heart of the Central Residential Area.

Service Circulation

Every building in the East Area must be accessible to service vehicles. Conflicts with pedestrians occur when service vehicles use sidewalks to access entryways and to make deliveries.

Stockbridge Road, Infirmary Way, and Clark Hill Road are the primary service corridors in the study area. The central portion of Stockbridge Road is not as crucial to this access as the northernmost section (serving Worcester DC and Skinner) and the southernmost section (serving Morrill, the Faculty Club, and Clark). Access to the area behind Morrill is particularly important, due to a large electrical node located there. Infirmary Way is a crucial route, providing service to three major destinations: the Franklin DC, UHS, and the Central residential complex.

Pedestrian / Vehicular Conflicts

After assessing each of the major systems–vehicular, pedestrian, and service circulation–areas of conflict between the three systems are apparent. The locations with the highest rate of conflict are along North Pleasant Street, where thousands of students cross North Pleasant Street daily. Because the crossing points are not well marked by signals or other means, students tend to cross at all points along North Pleasant Street. As a result, this road is a major source of vehicular/pedestrian conflicts. The result is a chaotic and unsafe pattern of crossings along the entire length of the street, where pedestrians compete with high volume traffic moving north-south through the campus core. The most notable points of conflict occur at crosswalks near the PVTA bus stops.

Lesser but significant points of conflict in the East Area occur along Stockbridge Road where pedestrians from the Orchard Hill and Central Residential Area enter the campus core. The loop of Infirmary Way that serves the UHS crosses another major east-west corridor in two places at the Central Residential Area and the Franklin DC.

Service access points, such as loading docks, are located at different points for each building, making it difficult to consolidate delivery areas. Frequently, designated service doors are not close enough to mail rooms, elevators, and other central nodes of service activity, causing maintenance workers to jump the curb and use a more convenient door. As a result, there is a great infiltration of unnecessary vehicular traffic on all paved surfaces.

These conflicts must be resolved or minimized.


Parking on campus is controlled by a system of permits and meters. In general, people who live or work on campus hold permits for numbered lots, and visitors are directed to meter spaces. These two types of parking are consolidated into defined lots. (The lot at University Health Services is sometimes controlled by a guard house, and is reserved for patients.) Service and handicapped spaces are designated in close proximity to each building.

There are three significant primary permit lots (identified for study purposes as as 62:1, 63:1 and 63:2), with a total of 447 spaces. Many secondary lots also exist in the area. Parking in each lot has been assessed to yield an accurate count for present number of spaces. Total parking within the study area, including University permit, Health Services lot, meter and 15 min lots, service, handicapped, and motorcycle spaces, equals 896 spaces. (See Appendix 3 for a table summarizing these numbers). The 1993 Master Plan recommends that general surface parking be eliminated from the campus core, since core parking areas impede pedestrian movement and may be more valuable as sites for new development and related open space. Three special cases in the East Area merit close attention.

The University Health Services lot allows UHS patients to park close to their destination. This amenity is especially needed since the nearest PVTA stop is on North Pleasant Street. This lot needs to remain close to Health Services to serve users who may be too ill to walk from a perimeter lot, and presents a real challenge for planning since it is within a part of the East Area that is already near its maximum development density.

Admissions has special parking needs, since it serves as one of the first points of entry for prospective students and their families. Attention should be given to making this lot attractive, convenient, and easy to find for those unfamiliar to campus.

Brett Hall, in the Central residential complex, houses disabled students who need adequate parking nearby.

Stakeholder Meetings

In this plan, stakeholders are defined as all the people who live or work in the East Area. This includes faculty, students, University staff, service vendors, and administrators. Neighborhood issues are also important in the East Area, particularly at Butterfield Terrace where there is a cluster of private homeowners. A preliminary list of key stakeholders is included in Appendix Six.

Planners met with many groups to gather their impressions of the major issues in the East Area. As the results of this investigative phase began to suggest possible solutions, they were used to spark discussion in a series of public meetings which took place in August, October, and November of 1996. Proposals for realigning roads, parking and open spaces were tested against the reactions of the East Area’s users.

This method took advantage of the intimate knowledge stakeholders possess about the places where they live and work, and integrated their needs into the planning process. Several overarching themes and issues emerged from these meetings.

Parking and Vehicular Access

Parking issues dominate quality-of-life discussions with stakeholders. A perceived shortage of permit and short-term parking leads to frequent abuses of service and permit lots alike. Parking is a neighborhood issue as well. If adequate commuter parking is not provided on campus, it migrates elsewhere, potentially having a negative impact on some Amherst neighborhoods. Maintaining or adding to existing numbers of parking spaces in the East Area is crucial.

Residents of the Central and Gorman residence hall complexes require space for loading in and out in the fall and spring, as well as some provision for everyday drop-offs.

The University Health Services (UHS) requires continuing access for emergency vehicles and drop-offs, and parking that matches existing levels at a minimum. In their current location, they have no direct bus service, which is very inconvenient for sick students.

Facilities and Space Allocation

Admissions, the special collections in Morrill, and several of the cultural centers in residence halls may be competing for new or expanded space in the East Area. Storage and shop space for maintenance work in the Central and Orchard Hill residence halls is also inadequate. While there are no specific plans to move any of these groups, the potential for one or more of them to seek new facilities is high within the next fifteen years. Each of these units have their own special sets of requirements for ideal siting.

In general, the East Area could use more auditorium space. On campus as a whole, existing auditorium classrooms are overstressed and suffer from high demand.

Maintenance and Service

New roads, walkways, and plantings should be coordinated with Physical Plant to ensure that they will be maintainable over a long period of time. Plowing and mowing have their own requirements that can be accommodated with foresight. All paved surfaces should be made strong enough to support the infrequent but necessary passage of maintenance or emergency vehicles.

Service access in the East Area needs overhauling. For each building, there is a best service entrance, ie. one close to central mailrooms, department offices, and elevators. If service access is planned at another door that is not as well placed, service workers will frequently ignore it and use the more efficient route. This leads to many conflicts between service vehicles and pedestrians, and also causes damage to walks, doors and lawns. Front-door and back-door entrances need to be clearly defined so that service functions and main entrances are separated.

Buffer/Edge Issues

Reuse of the University Apartments site will have a great impact on some neighbors. An appropriate use must be found for this key parcel in its dual role of campus gateway and neighborhood edge.

Pedestrian and Vehicular Traffic

Students unanimously expressed concern about the dangerous conditions along Chancellor’s Way, where heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic are frequently in conflict. They also pointed out both the importance and the poor condition of the goat path that drops more steeply through the Rhododendron Garden. Both of these routes are heavily used by students travelling to the core of campus, and both are perceived as being only marginally safe.

Recreation at the Residence Halls

All the residence halls in this area suffer from shortages of active, outdoor recreation space. The few outdoor basketball courts available at Orchard Hill and at Gorman are constantly in use during warm weather. The distance of these residence halls from playing fields to the west or sports complexes like Totman and Boyden exacerbates the problem. More game courts or general playing fields should be provided nearby to meet this need.

Students also mention three additional "wish list" items: musical performance/practice spaces; bike paths and storage spaces for bicycles that are accessible, safe and protected from the weather; and appropriate places for skateboarding.