New building to integrate science education at UMass

By Amber Vaillancourt, Collegian Correspondent

Marshall Annex was demolished on Friday, September 8th to make room for a new building on the University of Massachusetts campus, promising beneficial community connections, and integrated science education for all.

Behind green fences and dirty yellow trucks, Phase 1 of the $92.7 million Integrated Science Building is under way. Last Friday, ground was broke in the company of many, including Chancellor John V. Lombardi, UMass President Jack M. Wilson, and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy to “celebrate a formal shovel in the ground,” said Jim Cahill, Director of Facilities and Campus Planning on campus.

Cahill, who was also present during the groundbreaking, described the groundbreaking as “a ceremonial event,” continuing to say, “It’s always exciting.”

The building, designed by Payette Associates architectural firm and built by contractor Gilbane, will provide approximately 155,000 square feet of free space, according to the Facilities and Campus Planning website.

Phase 1 of the Integrated Science Building has only begun, yet the benefits are already beginning to show. The Integrated Science Building will connect the Greater Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institution, the Baystate Medical Center of Springfield, and the UMass community. The building also promises to integrate the physical, life, and chemical sciences, offering students a richer learning experience.

“It will be a modern state-of-the-art research center, similar to the Polymer Research Center,” said Cahill. The site is located adjacent to Skinner Hall, in close proximity to the Morrill Science Center, which would allow for possible future expansion.

“We envisioned a larger building, maybe a Phase 2 would be for an all research building,” said Cahill. The new building will consist of an entire floor devoted completely to research, and the building will be very flexible to any type of science, including research grants that people can receive. There will also be lab space for eight to ten principle investigators within the building.

The project will also allow for the renovation of approximately 400,000 square feet of existing teaching space on campus, and “it will provide infrastructure improvements and enhance the character of the campus through planned landscape improvements along North Pleasant Street and Stockbridge Road,” according to the website.

The project is expected to be finished by the winter of 2009.

“We have a long way to go,” said Cahill. “It’s a commissioning process, and everything has to be working properly. It’s complicated.”

The building has gone through extensive planning. Cahill said, “The seeds of this building were planted by faculty who teach chemistry and life science years ago. The Integrated Life Sciences function off of support from the federal level, as well as the board of trustees, leadership, faculty, and the administration on campus.”

Additional information can be found on the Facilities and Campus Planning website.