NORTH ADAMS, MA- Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) was honored recently by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety Architectural Access Board and the Boston Society of Architects for the renovations of the Berkshire Towers dormitory. In recognition of the building's improved accessibility, the College received the Public Architecture Honor Award during a ceremony at the State House.
Berkshire Towers, first built in 1973, began undergoing renovations in 2008. The brick towers now have a street-level entrance with an elevator to the main lobby. The old design had residents and guests enter on the second floor, using an exterior ramp.
Other additions to the space include a pull-off area for vehicles in front of the building, a kitchenette, new meeting and multi-purpose rooms, a new front desk, and a new laundry room and lounge space.
"It's an honor for the College to have a building project that's been recognized by the state," said Diane Manning, director of Residential Programs at MCLA. "It's nice knowing that we have a facility welcoming to all... It's really important to make sure buildings are accessible to all members of the MCLA community.
"The building was so lacking in any public space, and it's so heart-warming to see the students in the meeting and multi-purpose rooms," she added. "It's such an improvement to the quality of life of the
students in general."
The Berkshire Towers renovation project was designed by Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst.
The Massachusetts State College Building Authority funded the construction project through a $4 million bond. For more information on MCLA visit www.mcla.edu.