Friday, July 27, 2012

Pictures of Blaisdell House, bunny rabbit, & construction workers

I took some pictures on my way in to work on Thursday (at UMass). If they move Blaisdell House, what will happen to the bunny rabbits?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blaisdell House and the Horse barn at Umass Amherst on the move.

Well, well, well... yesterday I was just posting some pictures of Old and New UMass and including a couple of shots of the Blaisdell House and Horse Barn. This morning I open up GazetteNet and there is a story about how those buildings will be moved. I feel badly for the bunny rabbits, birds, squirrels, and other wild life (cats included) that make their homes there. I don't feel too badly for the skunks I guess. I don't know what they will do the with vacated space. My guess they will pave it over. If we are lucky maybe they will green it over, but given how crowded the parking lot is by the new recreation center during fall, winter, and spring.. I can only speculate that it will become parking. Anyway, here is the article from the Gazette by Ben Storrow-

And here are some quotes from that:

 "The project involves moving two buildings to the North Pleasant Street farm - an 1894 horse barn and the Blaisdell House, formerly the original farm manager's residence. No new construction is planned. Officials pegged the cost of moving the barn and converting it into classroom and office space at $5 million, while costs for moving and renovating the Blaisdell house are still being developed, they said."

"The barn, among the last remaining agricultural structures on campus, and the Blaisdell House now sit next to the physical plant on Commonwealth Avenue. Officials said the two buildings will be sited in the northwestern section of the Wysocki Farm along North Pleasant Street.
Dennis Swinford, director of campus planning, said the project fulfilled several different needs for the university.
"This is the last barn on our campus," Swinford said. Moving it up to the 40 acres on Wysocki Farm "saves the barn, starts the agricultural learning center and uses a site near the middle of campus," he said."

"The center's projected opening date is 2014. But Herbert said he is hopeful that some aspects of the new center will be up and running by next year to coincide with the university's 150th anniversary. That would be a fitting tribute to a school whose founding mission was, in part, to enhance agriculture in Massachusetts, he said.
"It would be nice, from an agricultural point of view, to have the center started by next year to help celebrate that event," Herbert said."

The article only talks about the new project, it doesn't mention what will become of the space being vacated by the buildings. Still I find it interesting that I have been speculating for a while how long these two old buildings would last where they are. New construction is happening all around them. Behind them, down by the parking garage, the old Physical Plant is being dismantled. The recreation center and the band building are both new. The new dorms are being built. Dickinson is no longer the police station (that got moved up to the area by Tillson Farm last year, next to the fire station). If the Old Chapel wasn't such a landmark in the center of campus they would tear that down too. I wonder if they will ever fill in the campus pond. After all, that wasn't part of the original campus. It was a stream in the beginning, and made into a pond only a few years after the college had been founded.

Ugh.. so much for historical preservation. Umass is marching, not creeping, further into the surrounding communities, taking up more of North Amherst in this case, and history is being forgotten and being rewritten all the time. So sad.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Umass Old and New

Some pictures of the construction and some pictures of the old..

Dickinson- former home of police station and ROTC stuff with new dorms rising behind it. Not sure if the full purpleness came through here. This is a huge construction project that is going on.

What is the building behind Bartlett? Yeah, that's what you can see there in the concrete. Another view of the new dorms being built. The dorms are going where the old tennis courts used to be, and also a large parking lot. They will be wedged in between the new recreation center and Boyden gym.

Something old.. a glimpse of Blaisdell House on the right, the oldest building on campus, and also the former horse barn on the left. The horses moved to the Hadley Farm many years ago and now the barn is falling apart.

A better view of the horse barn. Grinnell Arena used to be nearby but that was torn down too to make room for the new recreation building and new band building. The barn now seems to be home to stray cats, birds, and other creatures. I've seen university vehicles like these parked in front of it so I wonder if it being used for other purposes as well but it seems to be boarded up with fresh locks on the doors etc.

Here we have the new recreation center on the right, and the dorms that are being built on the left. It really is quite a construction site and I hope to take the time to take some more pictures of the area soon. It's hard to imagine how many thousands of students are going to be living in this space. No dining halls are being built though. They will have to go to Southwest to eat (sounds dumb to me too).

And one last picture from the distance. The brick is the edge of the band building, and you can see the dorm construction in the back. This is only a small piece of the project though. There are many buildings going up.

I wish I didn't feel so shy about photographing people. I would love to get some shots of the workers who come and go to the site. They work about the same hours I do (7am-3pm) and there are a lot of them. They wear their yellow safety vests and hard hats. They've got dirty gloves shoved in their back pockets, and carry their Igloo lunch coolers and sometimes a gallon of water. In the mornings many of them have their coffee cups or water bottles. The supervisors are frequently on their cell phones. They work in the rain and they work in the 100 degree sun. These men and women do a hard day's work. Makes me remember I shouldn't complain about my cold air conditioned office. I don't think these folks complain much about the weather, and I'm guessing a lot of them have long commutes at the end of the day too. They have to park quite a ways from the construction site too. So they've got a long walk back to their vehicles when the day is through.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

still here, still plugging along

Didn't realize I hadn't posted here in so long. Time gets away from us, doesn't it? I'm still here of course. I'm still trying to work on my NaNoWriMo project when I can. I'm still trying to lose weight. I'm still trying to make sure my daughter has a happy childhood. Some days I'm just plain tired but I do my best to fight it off and carry on. If I'm depressed I do my best not to show it. We've been on lots of adventures and been staying busy, but mostly I find myself posting these things on Facebook rather than blogging about them. I'm not sure which has the bigger audience. Facebook has a known audience of course of my Facebook friends, but I never really know how many people are reading what I post here. Would love to hear from you if you are out there though.

Anyway I'm still plugging along, and in the midst of everything I have an inspiration to start a new blog. It's just an idea at the moment. I'm still doing some of the research, but if it comes to be I will definitely post about it here.