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Amherst College > News & Events > Amherst Magazine > Archives > Spring 2004 > College Row
College Row

Welcome to King and Wieland

The Residential Master Plan moved closer to completion this spring, as the two new dorms being built in the southeast corner of campus were named and work began on the reconstruction of James and Stearns.

The two new dorms—which students informally dubbed “Y” and “Z” during the construction process—have been named King Hall and Wieland Hall. King Hall, the more southerly of the two, will honor Stanley King ’03, president of Amherst College from 1932 to 1946. An anonymous donor provided the funding. The north dorm will be named Wieland Hall, in recognition of a gift from John F. Wieland ’58, a real estate developer and philanthropist from Atlanta, Ga.

Scheduled to open at the beginning of the fall semester, King and Wieland were designed by William Rawn & Associates of Boston and are being built by Barr & Barr Builders of Framingham, Mass., at a cost of approximately $17 million. Architecturally, the granite, four-story buildings are reminiscent of the simple, Puritan structures of Amherst’s historic College Row. They reinforce a long-range view of the eastern campus. The buildings’ relatively small floor plans, with a maximum of 15 single-occupancy rooms on a floor, are designed to encourage community, as are ample common rooms and living areas on the ground level. Together, the dorms will house 115 upperclass students.

As King and Wieland began to take shape, another kind of work was underway on James and Stearns. Inexpensively built and no longer up to code, these dormitories could not be renovated to meet RMP requirements and so will be destroyed and rebuilt in the same location. Site demolition began in mid-May, immediately after students moved out and only weeks before Commencement and Reunion. The buildings’ new foundations will be installed in mid-June, and by the end of the summer the structures’ rough skeletons will be clear. Most of the buildings’ steel framing and decking will be in place by the time students arrive on campus in the fall, and the “new” James and Stearns should be complete by August 2005. At an estimated cost of $19 million, the project is being designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott of Boston. The new buildings will not look very different from the old ones, with traditional hip roofs and brick facades; they will incorporate many design elements from North and South and follow the basic footprint of the dorms they are replacing. The one exception will be along the back, where, instead of an L-shape, the new dorms will form a curve around the courtyard facing the Mead Art Museum. This curve not only will complement the existing courtyard architecturally, but also will provide additional space within the dorms without substantially increasing their size. On the inside, the curved back section will house a lounge with a view of the Neuhoff Sculpture Court in front of the Mead.

Over the next four years the RMP will encompass the conversion of Charles Pratt to student residences, the construction of the new Geology Building and Natural History Museum, and the renovation of Appleton, Morris Pratt, Morrow and Valentine.

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