Amherst College plans expansive Lyceum on South Pleasant

  • Rendering of Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Lyceum by Bruner/ Cott Architects. —Submitted Photo

  • An artist’s rendering shows the planned Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Lyceum, designed by Bruner/ Cott Architects. CONTRIBUTED

Staff Writer
Monday, January 17, 2022

AMHERST — A new academic building for Amherst College will break ground this spring on South Pleasant Street, south of the President’s House.

To be known as the Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Lyceum, the 18,500-square-foot building includes the renovation of an existing historic house at 197 South Pleasant and its expansion through both a two-story addition to the south, featuring an event space and a flexible classroom, and a three-story addition for offices to the west.

The building, planned by Bruner/ Cott Architects of Boston, will be home to the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, the History Department and some other faculty members, said college spokeswoman Caroline Hanna.

Construction is slated to start in the early spring, and the building will be ready for occupancy in September 2023, Hanna said.

The town’s Planning Board will hold a hearing on the project via Zoom on Jan. 19 at 6:45 p.m.

Previously, a historic 19th-century house at 205 South Pleasant, known as the Martha S. Hubbard House, was moved to Baker Street to provide space for the addition.

A description on the architects’ website states, “Inspired by the Lyceum of Ancient Athens, spaces are arranged in a way that encourages interaction, collaboration and conversation for faculty, students and the greater Amherst College community.”

Images show a building with a significant amount of glass facing South Pleasant, with views from the building of Johnson Chapel.

Frank is a 1955 graduate of the college who lives in Greece with his partner, Perroti, Hanna said, and is a generous alumnus whose name is on professorship, scholarship and fellowship funds.

“It was this gift and his vision that inspired this Lyceum project,” Hanna said.

The site plans being reviewed also include a service drive from Woodside Avenue and a woodland path to connect to Newport House on Northampton Road. At Newport House, a separate hearing will be held on a request to increase the parking lot from 17 spaces to 28 spaces.