New Design Building to break ground next month

By Colby Sears

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts will see a new addition to its campus when construction begins on the $52 million Design Building April 1.

With a projected completion date of January 2017, the building will occupy parts of parking lot 62 next to the Studio Arts Building. More than half of the lot’s parking spots will be eliminated to make room for the four-story, 87,200 square foot space.

“It’s going to be a very exciting new building,” said UMass Project Manager Burt Ewart. “It’s being designed as a modern showcase of timber technology.”

Ewart said the “super sustainable” building will be the first timber structure built on the UMass campus in generations, utilizing high-tech wood technologies made possible by the Environmental Bond Bill passed by state legislature in 2014.

“We have old timber buildings but they’re ancient … technology has changed a lot,” he said.

The building will house three areas of study from three separate colleges, according to Ewart. These include the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts’ architecture department and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s building construction technology program from the College of Natural Sciences.

Designs include a two-story courtyard with a large skylight on the first floor and an outdoor courtyard and green roof on the third floor. The building will also have classrooms, studios, labs, lounges, function spaces, a library and a café.

Featuring wood frame construction rather than steel and concrete construction types common in the area, the building will have a reduced carbon footprint and be able to maximize its use of renewable materials.

Approximately 70 new spots have been created in a new lot next to French Hall on Thatcher Road to accommodate lot 62 permit holders. Parking Services is also calling for an additional 40 permit holders to be relocated to alternate parking areas.

The entire lot will be closed temporarily this summer for steam pipe and other infrastructure work, but is expected to cause minimum disruption. Three rows of parking spaces, those closest to Clark Hall, will remain open throughout construction.

Colby Sears can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colbysears.