The Integrative Learning Center
Integrative Learning Center

Project Description

The Integrative Learning Center (ILC, formerly the New Academic Classroom Building) was the result of a plan developed over the last two years and has provided new state-of-the-art classroom and academic space for the Amherst Campus. This new building is sited in the center of campus in proximity to the Lincoln Campus Center and Student Union. Its location in the center of campus has not only provided students with convenient access to classrooms but has also created a hub of student activity and enhanced other student activity spaces nearby in the Campus Center and Student Union.

Within the walls of the four story 173,000 sq ft structure, the ILC provides 2,000 seats of new classroom space as well as space for several academic departments including Communications, Journalism, Linguistics, and Film Studies. The new building has transformed the undergraduate learning experience at UMass. The University has established an aggressive schedule to respond to the planned enrollment increases over the next decade. As part of the quest for excellence spearheaded by Chancellor Holub's strategic plan for academic and research transformation, the quality of classroom facilities needed to be improved as one of the first steps in implementing the plan.

As one of the largest research universities in New England, the UMass flagship campus is competing regionally and nationally for top faculty and students. This requires classrooms and lecture halls that meet the high expectations of today's students that some educators refer to as "digital natives".   Classrooms were designed to be fully equipped with everything from whiteboards and audiovisual devices to educational technologies that did not exist two years ago.  Classroom types were planned to encourage interactive and team learning, critical thinking, and trans-disciplinary learning and research.

In addition to digitally enabled learning spaces foster team learning, half of the interior space - about 59,000 sq ft - is the new home for four academic departments: Communication, Journalism, Linguistics, and Film Studies.  In addition to department faculty offices other spaces created were studios and specialized rooms for TV broadcasting and production, editing rooms, film screening rooms, computer classrooms, speech perception and auditory phonetics labs.

Equally important in transforming the campus was the landscape and site plan.  Located at the north end of Campus Pond, the building is a visible beacon of campus improvements that can be seen from North Pleasant Street and from all sides of the Pond.  Entrances to the building provide welcome to passengers from the PVTA stop at the east entrance, pedestrians on the main walkway across the pond's north side and for heavily traveled walkways near the Campus Center and Student Union.

Few campuses boast a large pond as their iconic center and this modern new building at its edge reflects the spirit of sustainability and natural environment that were part of the planning and engineering design.  With a LEED rating of gold, the building contains advanced energy systems and controls making this one of the lowest energy consuming buildings of its type on campus.   At this location, students and faculty can walk to the building from any location in the campus core in less than ten minutes.  Located at the north end of the campus pond, near the Campus Center, Student Union, and Library, the ILC was designed to help create a truly active center for a campus. The turnover of 3,600 students each hour of the class day makes this site and the buildings around it the natural center that the campus envisioned through its planning process. 


LEED Certification.  The ILC received LEED Gold certification, which exceeds the minimum required LEED Silver by the ACUPCC and LEED Plus standard set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Green Roof.  15,000SF of the ILC roof has provided space for planting hardy native plants. This green roof provides an educational opportunity to the campus community, reduces the heat island effect, creates a pleasing view for the surrounding buildings, absorbs CO2 , reduces glare and retains 1,825 CF of storm water.  Additionally, a green roof protects the roof membrane from the elements, including UV light, extending the life expectancy of the membrane and leading to lower life cycle costs. An extensive green roof with some type of sedum which requires very little maintenance was the chosen type of green roof for the ILC.

Sustainable Landscaping and Site Development.  Surface run-off is mitigated by rain gardens. Sustainable landscaping consists of low-maintenance native plantings. For  the Innovation in Design Credit, four trees were saved and relocated. Vegetation that had to be removed was either repurposed or composted.

Energy Use Reduction.   Reduced Energy usage is a top priority with an innovative heat recovery wheel and cooling coil to semi-condition ventilated air within the dedicated ventilation system.

Natural Ventilation.  The ILC utilizes the stack effect to naturally ventilate the West Gallery.

Water Conservation.  Water Consumption in the building is reduced with dual-flush toilets and low flow urinals. Plumbing fixtures are provided in accordance with the goals and initiatives of LEED. Roof run-off or effluent from the Town of Amherst's waste water treatment plant is used for irrigation.

Reduce Food/Beverage Packaging Waste.  Reusable water bottles are encouraged with bottle fillers provided in place of some of the water fountains in the building.  Auxiliary Services programs have been educating students on proper waste disposal procedures to minimize environmental impact.

User Awareness and Education. The building occupants were educated on the proper use of the building, so that it can reach its optimal performance. This was accomplished through a brochure/manual or website that provided information for regular occupants and maintenance staff.  In addition building signage and an energy dashboard system targeted transient building occupants.

Utility Rebate & Incentive Programs.  No natural gas use has been utilized by the ILC, heating is by steam from the Central Cogeneration Plant. UMA and DCAM pursued a system by system rebate approach through WMECO's energy performance rebate program.

Pond Restoration.  Appropriate emergent wetland vegetation, improved water quality and creation of new wildlife habitats have improved the health of the pond.

Cogeneration Plant.  100% of the building heating needs are provided by the campus' central Cogenerational facility. Steam from the Cogenerational Plant is utilized for the absorption chiller to provide chilled water. The Cogenerational Plant also provides a portion of the ILC's electrical power.

Student Report.  Students participated in the research, analysis and documentation of the LEED requirements for the project. The students presented their findings through written documentation, project narratives, and presentation boards. Members of the project team facilitated student learning and vice versa.

Wind Analysis.  CFD modeling and Wind Analysis was conducted to evaluate wind intensity at the pedestrian level, exhaust re-entrainment for the ILC and surrounding buildings, and microclimate studies in support of a solar chimney/natural ventilation.

Water Re-use.  Surface run-off from precipitation from the 40,000 SF ILC roof is stored in one 10,000 gallon tank outside the building and can be used for irrigation. The demand for irrigation at the building site is 1 inch per week during summer months over a landscape area of approximately 25,000SF. The overall daily demand for the months of May, June, July, August, and September is about 4,452 gallons per day.

Demand Control Ventilation.  For large classrooms and lobbies/corridors (large open spaces) ventilation and supply air was cost effectively mixed prior to the heating coil so that only one air stream is supplied to the space.

Metering.  Metering steam and water entering the building and the condensate leaving building.

Windows.  UMass placed operable windows in offices and public spaces. Exterior solar shading on the West Gallery glass was created to control solar reflection. Shading directs sun to vent heat to outside. 


The project was owned and managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM)

Budget: $93.25 million

Funding sources: $65 million, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Higher Education Bond Bill; $20 million, University of Massachusetts Amherst; $8.25 million, UMass Building Authority.

Certification: LEED Gold

Building Includes:

•    60+ rooms
•    2000+ seats
•    Auditoria, classrooms, case study rooms, and group learning environments
•    Shared specialized facilities
•    Program Space for Communications, Journalism, Media, Film Studies, and Linguistics