UMass Amherst Breaks Ground for New Marching Band Building

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst broke ground today for a $5.7 million Minuteman Marching Band Building. The new, energy-efficient facility 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 facility will be located off Commonwealth Avenue, adjacent to Dickinson Hall, and will be attached by a walkway to the Grinnell Arena, which will be renovated as part of the project. George N. Parks, longtime band director, says this will be the first permanent home for the band since 1997, when it left the historic Old Chapel.
Officials who attended the ceremony included state Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, a former band member; Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor; Henry M. Thomas III, UMass trustee; Band Director Parks, and Jeff Cox, chairman of the department of music and dance. Holub also introduced alumnus and former band member Matt Dunphy, who also served as manager, personnel manager and Hoop Band manager, and Caitlin Bogdan, the current band manager.

Funding for the facility comes from a combination of $4.5 million in campus money along with $1.2 million raised through private donations.

The new 15,000-square-foot building was designed by Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010 with the building to be completed by March 2011. The new facility will provide the marching band with a permanent home with high visibility on campus. It will have a large indoor practice and performance space that can contain the entire marching band, will incorporate the existing Grinnell Arena practice space for the band’s percussion section, and have 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 will be fully accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Construction will include energy reduction and sustainability strategies and when finished, campus officials intend to register the new facility certification under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building plan calls for landscaping using native plantings that don’t require irrigation, use of 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 will also feature 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 will be recycled, and the project calls for extensive use of recycled materials in construction along with substantial use of materials produced and fabricated locally. The building plan also calls for zero, or very low, VOC coatings, adhesives and sealants.