February 5, 2010 - The University of Massachusetts Amherst has begun refurbishing office space in downtown Springfield for its new Design Center, with Chancellor Robert Holub and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno wielding sledgehammers to begin the renovations.
The Design Center, an important element of the Greater Springfield-UMass Amherst Partnership, will provide a physical presence for UMass in the heart of the city. The center will house faculty, staff and graduate students, and will undertake projects such as park improvements, urban planning and conservation area upgrades that will benefit the city. In addition to storefront offices, the building will feature a design studio on the ground floor as well as low-rent apartments on the upper floors.
Meanwhile, steps away in the Old First Church, the international stepping group from Washington, D.C., Step Afrika!, and students from Springfield’s elementary schools staged a performance, culminating a five-month stepping dance education program, part of the Sankofa Youth Reach managed by UMass Amherst.