A line drawing of campus showing the quad in purple and the greenway in green. The Student Center and the Dining Commons are two connected projects that will enhance the Amherst experience for our entire community. Using the structure of the existing Merrill Science Building, the Center will connect upper and lower campus, offer students, faculty and staff welcoming spaces, and serve as a crossroads that will allow us to gather and interact across interests and affinities. Nothing is more important than creating a place where students—all students—can come together, forge community and make Amherst their own.

A map of campus showing construction zones in blue, yellow and green.

CAP Construction Information

In Spring 2023, Amherst will begin work on the decarbonization of the campus' energy system. Please visit our CAP Construction Information page for updates on how this will affect walkways, parking and other aspects of campus life.

Architectural Renderings

The following are renderings shared by Herzog and de Meuron, the architectural firm designing the new Student Center and the Dining Commons. These provide an appoximation of the Center’s main spaces.

Enhancing the Amherst Experience

The new Student Center and the Dining Commons will house a broad range of activities and ways to enjoy being part of the Amherst community. It will also replace the dining facility located in the aging Valentine Hall, which is nearing the end of its useful life.

The Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron is designing the Center around four principles that will affirm the connection to place that is so much a part of the Amherst experience.

Two photos of students talking in a room full of students


Spaces for wellness, group movement, and prayer will allow students to recharge. For fun, there will be a pub, party venues, and a gamespace.

Two Black students singing and playing the guitar


Student-centric homes for clubs and organizations, the Resource Centers, affinity groups, religious and spiritual life, and student government will live here.

Students laughing and throwing balloons


The Center will house a living room and lounge, a grand staircase with seating niches, meeting rooms, and flexible event spaces for scheduled or serendipitous connection.

Students painting on easels in a classroom


Students will have access to makerspaces, a satellite of the Book & Plow Farm for year-round growing, a theater, dance space and music rooms.

Sustainable & Environmentally Responsive Architecture

Repurposing the Merrill Science Building, which will form the ground and first floors of the new Center, will reduce the project’s overall carbon use. The remaining structure will be primarily made of technologically advanced wood construction—a low-carbon design strategy. This will help fulfill our Climate Action Plan goal of transforming our campus energy system away from fossil fuels to renewably sourced energy to achieve carbon neutrality.

Sustainable Design Elements

An architectural drawing of a wall of the student center with numbers that correspond to the text

#1 Solar Energy
Roof nosings will utilize solar energy

#2 Thermal Mass (materials)
Green materials will efficiently absorb, store and release heat

#3 Cantilevered shading
will provide shading on all levels

#4 CO2 Reduction
The existing Merrill concrete structure and technologically advanced and durable timber will reduce our CO2 footprint

#5 Thermal Mass (windows)
Partly opaque windows and facade expression will provide further shade

#6 MEP Heating Cooling Systems
Displacement ventilation and radiant floors will help control indoor climate

#7 Natural Ventilation
Facade flaps and operable windows will open the building to the surrounding landscape


A Place to Connect

The structure will provide a central location that prioritizes wellness and community, while enhancing and centralizing our residential life programs, clubs, student activities and affinity groups. In doing so, the Center will act as a central hub that connects us and emphasizes the natural beauty of our surroundings.

Each level of the Center will provide unique spaces that will support connecting, socializing, and forging friendships. Select the levels below to see the spaces and services offered on each floor.

A side view of the Center with a red arrow connecting the front and back of the building

A side-view of the Center’s four levels and the most direct route from the Plaza (main quad) side and the Greenway, connected by the two main staircases.