World War II-Era Marshall Annex at UMass Amherst Demolished

AMHERST, Mass. – In a move that will make room for the new Integrated Sciences Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, workers today are demolishing Marshall Annex, a building that dates to the end of World War II.

Marshall Annex, a 10,275 square-foot building, originally was trucked to the Amherst campus in pieces in 1947 from Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee. The building was reassembled and used as additional laboratory space for Marshall Hall, a pre-World War I building that was a science laboratory. Marshall Hall was demolished in the late 1990s because it was out-of-date for scientific research. The annex, however, remained, and most recently was used by art students as studio space.

Because of its age and the history of a variety of uses here and at Westover, the destruction of Marshall Annex presents some challenges. Special care is being taken for the handling and disposal of asbestos, lead paint and other hazardous material that may be present in the structure. Once the building debris is removed, the area will be part of the grounds around the new Integrated Science Building and may in the future be the site of expansion of that structure.

Historically, after World War II, enrollment at UMass Amherst quickly expanded and campus officials needed to find inexpensive extra space. A number of so-called “annex” buildings went up at the time—pre-fabricated, war surplus buildings that were never really meant to be permanent. Marshall Annex has survived many rounds of changes on campus and has its admirers. Art students, its latest occupants, expressed great affection for the building, in part, perhaps, because it was old and funky.