UMass Amherst
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Facilities Planning

Building a Better UMass Amherst

Artist's rendering of the ISB interior.

Old Power Plant Demolition

Project Description

The Old Power Plant at the center of campus operated from the early 1900's until 2009 for the generation of steam and some electricity for UMass Amherst.  This was the hub of the utility systems here until it was replaced by the new Central Heating Plant, a highly efficient co-generation facility which provides steam for heat, electricity and chilled water for air conditioning and research.

The buildings that make up the plant were constructed starting with the Turbine House in 1918, adding additional Boiler Houses and finally the Bag House on Campus Center Way in the 1985 and the oil-fired Boiler #9 in 1993.  This plant has been well documented for the historical record and several artifacts can be viewed on display at the new Central Heating Plant.

Demolition began with the process of figuring out how to disconnect all of the piping and wiring attached to the buildings, from sanitary sewers underground, to high-pressure steam on overhead trestles.  All asbestos insulation, fire brick, and other chemicals were removed from the buildings. Then the chimneys were  dismantled from the top down.

Currently they've begun the knock-down phase and soon they will be re-routing affected utilities. The site is surprisingly clean, considering how it looks. For example, coal dust was pressure washed out of the interior and the ground around the plant was sampled and tested clean.  We will not need to dig up and remove any soils because there is no leaked heating oil or other contamination to be removed.

Recycling and salvage are the major components of demolition. The market for various metals, building bricks, and equipment makes this more of a dismantling operation. This Project, not including Haz Mat, is expected to reach in the range of 95% recycling rate.

Once the site is clean, it will be gravel graded for drainage and will likely be used for parking.