A big announcement from UMass!

UMass Amherst to Build New $85 Million
Academic Classroom Building

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst campus will be erecting a new $85 million academic classroom building to provide the campus with 1,800 new state-of-the-art classroom seats and academic space for programs including communications, journalism and linguistics.

It is expected to be completed by January 2014. Jay Gonzalez, Secretary of the state Executive Office for Administration and Finance, today announced during a campus visit that the Commonwealth will contribute $65 million to the construction through a Higher Education Bond Bill.

As one of the largest research universities in New England, the Amherst 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, referred to by some educators as “digital natives.” Classrooms will be fully equipped with everything from basic chalkboards and audiovisual devices to the most modern educational technologies that did not exist even two years ago.  Classrooms are being planned to encourage interactive and team learning, critical thinking and trans-disciplinary learning.

The five-story 150,000 square-foot NACB will be designed by the Boston architecture firm Burt, Hill. The designers and campus facility planners hope to achieve a LEED Gold rating for the NACB by using advanced energy systems and controls to make this one of the lowest energy consuming buildings of its type on campus.

In addition to digitally enabled learning spaces designed to foster team learning and 45,000 square feet for the communication, journalism, and linguistics programs, other spaces being planned are TV broadcasting and production studios, editing rooms, film screening rooms, computer classrooms, speech perception and auditory phonetics labs.

It will be located at the north end of the campus pond near the Lincoln Campus Center and Student Union to create a convenient central hub for student activities. The NACB is being planned to help create a vibrant core for a campus where 3,600 students move from class to class each hour.

Entrances to the building will welcome passengers from the Pioneer Valley Transportation bus stop on the east, pedestrians on the main walkway along the pond to the north and heavily traveled walkways on the west near the Campus Center and Student Union.

Contact: Ed Blaguszewski, 413/545-0444; edblag@admin.umass.edu