that the main section of the historic Stucco Cow Barn, Milkers Bungalow, and Calf Barn could neither be saved nor adapted to a modern use.still under discussion:
Negotiations now focus on a Memorandum of Agreement's (MOA) third draft by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and Preserve UMass, the Amherst Commission and the state Commission are ready to sign. Though, the administration and the UMass Building Authority haven't agreed yet.
The draft MOA contains a series of findings that document the events that led to the loss of the barn and give standing to Preserve UMass and the Amherst Commission to be parties to the agreement.
It also includes five stipulations regarding the preservation process. The University must produce written and photographic documentation of the stucco barn and several other historic buildings. UMass must also create a permanent exhibit documenting the important role the University has played in agricultural research.
More significantly, the agreement stipulates that UMass will conduct a campus cultural survey and master plan that will meet state and national standards with respect to the buildings that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This includes planning for adaptive reuse of the historic structures to provide functions that are of current importance to the University.
In the original agreement, UMass would have preserved the silo. However, after an engineering study was conducted, university officials said keeping the silo would not be financially feasible.
"Anything is possible with money," said James E. Cahill, director of UMass facilities and campus planning. The silo "wouldn't be able to stand on its own without significant structural enhancements, and so we've determined, based on that, that it's not feasible to do."
Joseph S. Larson, a member of Preserve UMass, a group of former and current UMass professors and preservationists, said he expects the silo will eventually come down. But he questions how much it would actually cost to keep the silo standing.
"When push comes to shove, the silo will go too," said Larson. "We agreed the Stucco Barn should go down soon."
"If the university puts demolition of the old buildings on hold until that assessment is done and then uses that assessment to set priorities for preservation and adaptive reuse, we would deem that a success," said Larson. "That's really what we asked for at the beginning of this."
Meanwhile, contractors are moving ahead with excavation and preparing the site for the rec center's foundation construction.
"We're moving ahead full steam," said Cahill.
Larson believes that the University now feels inclined to have professional historical review of the campus.Useful article, though, a more appropriate headline would read: UMass's cavalier attitude toward law prompts stop-work order.
"Having to cease work is costing the University money, which is unfortunate, but that is the cost with not being compliant with state law from the beginning," Larson said. "Our hope is that after all of this dust settles the University will never get into this [situation] again."
Hiring a consultant has long been the request from Preserve UMass. The group was particularly upset after the university was preparing to raze a historic barn on the site of a $50 million student recreational center before a consultant was hired and doesn't want any more buildings razed until the consultant issues a report.
State officials halted the razing because university officials had not submitted the request for permits with the state Historical Commission and the environmental policy office.
The project could be delayed up to 90 days, said James E. Cahill, director of facilities and campus planning. Cahill said, however, he is hoping for a resolution in a few weeks.
Members of Preserve UMass and the Amherst Historical Commission met on Nov. 16 with James Cahill, director of UMass's Facilities and Campus Planning, to see if the three parties could agree on a joint response to the Massachusetts Historical Commission's [MHC] stop-work order for the $50 million Student Recreation Center.
The stop-work order, which was issued by the MHC on Oct. 26, was due to the failure of the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Building Authority and the project designer of the recreation center to comply with state law. Massachusetts state law requires building designers to notify and confer with the MHC when historic buildings are impacted by construction by state agencies. In this case, and in many others, this law was not followed, according to the commission.