February 29, 2012
AMHERST, Mass.—A revised construction schedule for Amherst College’s new science center has enabled the college to invite the Amherst Day School preschool program to remain in its current location on campus through May 2013. According to the terms of a new agreement between the organizations, the Little Red Schoolhouse, as it is more commonly known, will use the college-owned facility for the 2012–13 academic year and then vacate the building in May of 2013, when major excavation activities for the science center are slated to begin.
The college had previously asked the program to vacate by June 30, 2012, because major construction activities were expected to begin during academic year 2012–13. But in February, the college’s construction manager, Whiting-Turner, shifted the major construction of the science center to begin on June 1, 2013, to accommodate the college’s needs. Site-preparation work—including the demolition of Davis dorm, digging of trenches, removal of earth and modification of roadways—will start in June of this year, however.
“As we assessed the revised schedule for the work that will be necessary to prepare the science center site for construction, we were pleased to see that the Little Red Schoolhouse might not have to vacate the college’s facility just yet,” said Amherst Treasurer Peter J. Shea. “We were happy to invite them to continue offering their services on campus until then, and we hope doing so will enable them to formulate a proposal for childcare that better fits the college’s needs.”
“We’re delighted to be working with Amherst College for the 2012–2013 academic year at the Little Red Schoolhouse,” said Stacy Tobin, president of the Little Red Schoolhouse board of directors. “We are eager to use the additional time granted to craft the most inclusive and beneficial plan to meet the potential needs of the college and our future jointly.”
During the 2012–13 academic year, the college will continue to maintain the Little Red Schoolhouse building; provide it with heat, electricity and water; and pay it the amount normally distributed from the endowment set up for the Amherst Day School program. The program will stay in the building subject to the understanding that it will not be used after May 31, 2013.
The college’s new science center, which will be the largest building on the Amherst campus, will be integrated into the network of campus structures and will be located on the hillside site adjacent to the Little Red Schoolhouse building. The facility, estimated to cost about $200 million, will be designed and built over the next six years, with a completion date estimated at 2017. Behnisch Architekten—a German firm with offices in the United States—and Boston-based Payette Associates are designing the four-story, 220,000-square-foot building.
The Amherst Day School program was established in 1936. Because there was no appropriate building for it on the campus at that time, its classes were held in the Amherst College Gym. In 1937, alumnus James Turner and his family donated to the college the small brick building located on the eastern part of campus, where the preschool still operates today. The program is administered by an independent Board of Directors.