$19m later, Amherst College rethinks project

Lauren Williams's picture

 It was the biggest, most expensive, most audacious building ever conceived at Amherst College, a terraced glass-and-steel science center nestled into a hill, designed by a celebrated architect.

But now, it is a $19 million mistake, never to be built.

When the college president, Carolyn A. “Biddy” Martin, broke the news to the campus in May, she said the imperative to build partly underground had driven costs beyond what could be justified, while preliminary work on the site close to the center of campus proved too disruptive to dorm life and experiments in nearby laboratories.

Amherst, she said, would still build a new science center, but it was going back to the drawing board to come up with a new site and a new design. “Fiscal responsibility demands that we pivot to a less difficult site,” Martin wrote to the Amherst community.

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