AMHERST, Mass. – Newcomers and those returning to the campus this fall will be greeted by the completion of the new state-of-the art Integrative Learning Center (ILC) classroom building and Lincoln Campus Center dining renovations, the return of Metawampe and two major additions to McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
Major pedestrian pathways that had been blocked during construction of more than $148 million of facilities will again be open. Meanwhile, additional campus improvement projects will begin this fall, affecting some walking routes and building access.
“The community will benefit greatly from the array of new and renovated facilities that we are completing,” said Ed Blaguszewski, campus spokesman. “Kudos to everyone involved in designing and constructing these buildings. We appreciate the patience of students, faculty and staff amid all the dust and inconvenience. It’s been worth the wait.”
The greatest impact of the new projects is expected from utility work along Hicks Way in preparation for the South College renovation and addition project, which is set to begin early next year. Until Dec. 1, expect temporary diversions from portions of Hicks Way in the Goodell Hall and South College area.
Users of Goodell may also encounter occasional noise during installation of air-handling units and demolition and restoration of certain building elements. The work will continue until March.
While window replacement continues in the low-rise portion of the Lederle Graduate Research Center, the bridges between Goessmann Lab and the LGRC tower and between the tower and the low-rise will be inaccessible. Pedestrians will have to continue walking outside to get from building to building. The work is expected to be completed by December.
Meanwhile, the renovation of the former Blue Wall eatery in the Lincoln Campus Center is scheduled for completion during Move-In Weekend. The venerable Hatch, which opened decades ago as the “Hatchet and Pipe,” is serving in place of the old Blue Wall until the opening, when the Hatch will be permanently closed. The renovated restaurant has yet to receive its new name.
Most of the temporary fencing that surrounded the 171,000-square-foot ILC building and the Campus Pond during construction has been removed, and most of the pathways and views restored. Some temporary fencing will remain at the ILC to protect newly seeded lawns, including the new home of Metawampe, the iconic statue dedicated to the Native American who sold land to early Hadley settlers. The sculpture, a gift from the Class of 1950, had to be moved for reconstruction of the former Metawampe lawn area.
Strollers may notice a waterfowl fence along the northern portion of the Campus Pond that was put in place to protect newly placed wetland plants from ducks and geese. The fence will remain until late fall or early winter when the plants will have grown enough to survive.
Also new to view are the Football Performance Center and the Martin and Richard Jacobson Press and Skybox Complexat McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The performance center, which fills the north end of the stadium, is up and running, with training and treatment facilities, meeting rooms, an auditorium and coaches’ offices. The press facility will be ready for the Homecoming game against Bowling Green on Sept. 27.
In mid-construction is the 53,000-square-foot Champions Center rising just south of the Mullins Center. Scheduled for completion in July 2015, the Champions Center will provide dedicated practice and training facilities for men’s and women’s basketball and will serve as home for intramural championships.
While the majority of Lot 12 (the lot most often used by commuting students) has been refurbished with crushed cinder rock, about a quarter of the lot will continue to be under construction through October.
Work to replace fire hydrants will also be on-going in the Marston/Lot 65 area affecting pedestrian paths and parking.
And the main entrance to Curry Hicks Cage will now be more visible following demolition of Munson Annex, which had been unused for a number of years. Lawn restoration at the former annex site will be completed by the end of September.
For more information about campus construction, visit the Facilities & Campus Services website at www.umass.edu/facilities.