Five Colleges signs purchase and sale agreement for Library Annex land

The Five College Consortium has signed an agreement to purchase 46 acres of land in Hadley, Massachusetts as the site for a 2.5-million-volume Library Annex that will provide shelving to supplement the capacities of the collaboration’s on-campus libraries.

Most of the land, which lies between North Maple Street and Rocky Hill Road in an area of mixed retail, residential and light industrial uses, will be preserved as open space, with about 20 percent of the site used for the project. The initial phase of the Annex is a 38,000-square-foot facility that includes 30,000 square feet for shelving and approximately 8,000 square feet for processing intakes and retrievals. The consortium is pursuing approval for a shelving facility that might grow to 150,000 square feet—a size that is not expected to be reached for several decades.

Five Colleges has selected Cutler and Associates of Worcester as the project’s design-build firm. Ground-breaking is planned for July, 2015, with the facility expected to open in May, 2016.

As announced last fall, the Five College Annex will address space requirements identified in the master plan of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries and the projected needs of Smith College during an anticipated major renovation of its Neilson Library. The Annex will also be available to serve the shelving needs of all Five College libraries for print materials. Primarily intended to house infrequently used print materials, the Annex will have climate-controlled conditions that are better for long-term preservation of print materials than the conditions in the on-campus library stacks.

The next stages in the project are for the land’s current owner to pursue removing the property from the state’s agriculture program and for Five Colleges to develop a conservation management plan to protect endangered species habitat on the site.

For more information about the Annex visit the Five College Library Annex webpage.

Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, Five Colleges, Inc., is a nonprofit educational consortium created in 1965 to advance the extensive educational and cultural objectives of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.