Science Center Updates: Summer 2017

September 8, 2017

Amherst’s new science center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018. The state-of-the-art building will be a home for teaching and research and offer additional classrooms and gathering spaces for the entire campus.


In starting the design process to figure out what is the right building for the college, there are many different factors that come into play. For a building of this magnitude longevity is critical. That, however, is more difficult in a science buildings because science is constantly changing. So flexibility along with longevity along with efficiency and beauty, and all of those good things have to be accommodated together.

My name is Tom Davies. I'm the Director of Design and Construction here at Amherst College.

The new science center is by far the most significant construction project that the College of ever taken on. We are from sustainability perspective anticipating that this building will be a standard bearer in that regard. We're modeled to attain an EUI which is an Energy Usage Intensity index that is less than half of what a typical new science building would consume.

It's technically very advanced The building is about 250,000 square feet. Over the course of the project it will take roughly 3/4 of a million worker hours. We're going to consume over 2,000 truckloads of concrete,roughly 45 miles of pi ping, 250 miles of wire.

The primary design feature of the building is that the building is really putting science on display. Large walls of glass facing the campus. Once you're inside the building you'll be looking right into the laboratories. Both the teaching laboratories as well as
research laboratories. Seeing all the activity that happens in there.

Something about Amherst College that's very different from most other schools is that our undergraduate are very involved with faculty research.  And so this is a way to not only make that very apparent but also make it a really welcoming and nice environment for those students working late into the night in these laboratories.

It's beautiful, it's efficient, it works well, it's rational. It takes what was a kind of forgotten piece of the campus down here and turns it into something that's really central and fantastic.