Amherst College donates $200K to Jones Library and The Drake

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A donation of $200,000 from Amherst College will go towards two city projects to honor the institution’s 200 anniversary.

The funds will be split evenly and go towards the restoration and reparations of a historic and new building in the Town of Amherst. The 93-year-old Jones Library will undergo restorations, which was approved by voters last month. The Drake will become the new arts and performance venue in the downtown area.

“As we mark the College’s Bicentennial, our ties to the town remain strong. We are especially pleased to be providing support for two projects that will benefit the town and are also aligned with our mission,” said Biddy Martin, president of the College.

According to a news release from Amherst College, “the donation made to the Friends of the Jones Library, will support a $36.3 million restoration, renovation and expansion funded by a combination of public and private resources, of both the original 1928 structure and 1993 addition, adding 15,000 square feet of space.” Additionally, they said that they plan to increase accessibility in the facilities by repairing and adding extra space for a multitude of activities for children of all ages.

Some of their goals are to improve the library’s English as a Second Language program and reduce the town’s overall use of fossil fuels, increase energy efficiencies and allow the library to reach net-zero in terms of energy usage.

The Drake will become the Town of Amherst’s designated live performance and music venue and will host a multitude of activities such as live music of all genres, comedy, improv, spoken word, and other types of performances. And will offers students and local residents a space to connect with the community and support the arts.

“The Drake will provide opportunities to students to present their work outside their campuses with higher stakes and more diverse audiences than they can experience with on-campus performances,” said Darryl Harper, Amherst College associate professor of music, chair of the music department and director of the College’s Center for Humanistic Inquiry. “This kind of engagement fits squarely with our mission at the College. It will bring more artists to the area and will deepen the College’s collaboration with the local community.”

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