Dedication and Ribbon Cutting at UMass Amherst Nov. 5 for the George N. Parks Minuteman Marching Band Building

November 5, 2011

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AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Amherst today dedicated its $5.8 million Minuteman Marching Band Building, a new energy-efficient facility that will serve as the permanent home for the 300-member band known as "The Power and Class of New England." It is one of only 27 collegiate marching bands nationally to receive the Sudler Trophy given by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

The new building is located off Commonwealth Avenue, adjacent to Dickinson Hall, and is attached by a walkway to the Grinnell Arena, which has been renovated as part of the project. The building is named after George N. Parks, the music professor who led the Minuteman Marching Band to national prominence during his 33-year tenure. Parks died suddenly Sept. 16, 2010 after suffering a heart attack following a performance with the band at an Ohio high school during a trip to the University of Michigan.

Officials in attendance were Robert L. Caret, UMass president; Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor; Timothy T. Anderson, director of the marching band; Thomas P. Hannum, associate director of the marching band; Jeff R. Cox, chair of the department of music and dance; Jeanne Parks, spouse of the late George N. Parks; State Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, Senate President Pro Tempore and band alumnus, and Heidi I. Sarver, director of the University of Delaware Blue Hen Marching Band and former Minuteman Marching Band member.

Funding for the facility comes from a combination of $4.5 million in campus money along with $1.3 million raised through private donations. It is the first permanent home for the band since 1997, when it left the historic Old Chapel.

The new 15,000-square-foot building was designed by Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst. Construction began in the spring of 2010 and was completed by May 2011. The new facility provides the marching band with a permanent home with high visibility on campus. It has a large indoor practice and performance space that can contain the entire marching band, incorporates the existing Grinnell Arena practice space for the band’s percussion section, and has two smaller group practice spaces. The design also includes room for storage of instruments, uniforms and music, and office and conference space for band staff. The building is fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Construction involved energy reduction and sustainability strategies, and campus officials have registered the new facility certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building plan uses landscaping with native plantings that don’t require irrigation, non-heat-absorbent roofing and paving materials, tightly sealed and heavily insulated walls and roof, and high performance thermal-break aluminum windows, curtain walls and doorways.

The building also features demand-controlled energy recovery ventilation, which recycles heating and cooling energy into the outside air used to provide healthy indoor conditions. Total energy use will be substantially below Massachusetts Energy Code standards. About 75 percent of construction waste was recycled, and there was extensive use of recycled materials in construction of the building along with substantial use of materials produced and fabricated locally.