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Five Colleges Inc. Breaks Ground for Library Annex in Hatfield

HATFIELD — At a brief ceremony on Sept. 15 attended by campus officials and developers, Five Colleges Inc. broke ground on for its Library Annex on a site it purchased in Hatfield.

When complete, the 35,000-square-foot building will provide shelving for up to 2.5 million items from the libraries of the campuses of the consortium — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges and UMass Amherst — freeing up space for new materials and other academic needs. In addition, it will serve as a temporary home for much of the collection of Smith College’s Neilson Library while it undergoes a major renovation.

“This facility will help Smith greatly in coming years. It’s a great example of how the institutions help each other,” said Susan Fliss, Smith College dean of Libraries.

Added Chris Loring, the recently retired director of libraries at Smith College and a driving force behind the development of the annex, “this will become another library for us.”

The 12-acre parcel is at the junctions of the Interstate 91 exit 22 ramp, West Street, and Plain Road in Hatfield. Five Colleges paid $925,000 for the property, which had been owned by Lynda, Martin, and Sharyn Holich. Site preparation work began on May 17, and work is expected to be complete in May 2017.

With climate-controlled conditions for long-term preservation of print materials, the annex will house a part of the Five College library repository collection, which already preserves nearly 600,000 items for its member campuses.

The Five College Consortium, based in Amherst, is celebrating its 50th year advancing the extensive educational and cultural objectives of its member institutions.

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