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UMass Amherst honored for Old Chapel renovation

Renovation of the Old Chapel at UMass was honored with a state preservation award.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Renovation of the Old Chapel at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has been honored by the state with a 2017 Historic Preservation Award, officials announced Thursday.

The 19th century building, which stands in the heart of the campus, reopened in February after a $21 million renovation. “The preservation of UMass Amherst’s Old Chapel guarantees the campus centerpiece for future generations,” Secretary of State William Galvin said in a press release issued by the university.

Galvin presented the award to university officials Nov. 2 during a ceremony held at the state archives center in Boston.

Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities and Campus Services, accepted the award . The university completed a “very thoughtful historic renovation that’s worthy of this recognition,” he said in the release.

The granite-and-sandstone building, designed by prominent Worcester architect Stephen Carpenter Earle, opened in 1885, when UMass was an agricultural college.

But the building sat unused for decades until 2012, when newly-minted Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy prioritized its renovation.


The project turned the chapel into a new resource for learning and socializing on campus. The first floor includes a video wall and space to hold exhibition and community events. The Great Hall on the second floor has space for performances, lectures and receptions.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Jake Johnson can be reached at jake.johnson@globe.com.