Powerhouse Prepares for Fall Opening
Issue   |   Wed, 05/07/2014 - 04:25
Photography Editor Olivia Tarantino '15

Last Friday, the Association of Amherst Students invited students into the Powerhouse to learn about its current state of construction and to provide input, feedback and ideas for the event space.

Currently, the Powerhouse is half-complete and set to open to the upcoming fall semester. Much of the building’s original industrial feel and aesthetics will be kept, but new flooring and brand new floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors will be built in to counter the high steel-beams with lots of natural light. A storage area for chairs, tables and even supplies has also been built in to for easy access to different pieces of furniture depending on event.

“One of the unique things about this space in terms of design, is that a lot of the set up needs, say you want seats or you don’t want seats, it’s very easy for students to set those things up so it doesn’t require you to go through facilities department,” said AAS Senator RJ Kermes ’16.

Additionally, the floor-to-ceiling glass panels lead out to a fenced-in garden terrace for outdoor seating. According to Chief Student Affairs Officer Suzanne Coffey, in the warmer months, the roll-out grill can be used for barbecues in the terrace. Around the terrace will be a wrought-iron fence to keep the area private.

The Powerhouse will include features such as a concession food stand and a green room for when the building is used as a performance space. The building will have a second level above the concession stand and green room, as well as mezzanine level next to the entryway. The Powerhouse can accommodate 200 people for a sit-down speaker event and 400 people for a dance event.

The Senate Powerhouse Committee has been discussing ideas for ways to use the building. Some of the ideas include serving free coffee in the Powerhouse, opening the space for studying after Frost Library closes at 1 a.m. and hosting pizza post-game parties on Saturday nights.

In addition, the Powerhouse will serve as a general event space for speakers, concerts and dance parties. The building’s first event has already been booked: it will host a WAMH concert the first weekend of September.

The Powerhouse will be run by a Student Powerhouse Committee consisting of one AAS senator, two student members, one member of Campus Activities Board and the Campus Community Coordinator. AAS Senator Virginia Hassel ’16 has been elected as the senate member on the community and the senate is currently in the process of looking for two students to participate in the committee. Ellie Anderson ’15 will serve as the Campus Community Coordinator on the committee.

The committee will be in charge of the budget, booking of events and general upkeep and maintenance of the Powerhouse. The Powerhouse will be student-run, with the new Dean of Students providing some general oversight of Powerhouse operations.

The budget for the powerhouse is jointly funded by the Office of Student Affairs and the AAS. Each body providing $5,000 per semester for a combined total of a $10,000 budget each semester.

The original impetus for the Powerhouse was to create a designated large event space ideal not only for hosting large events, but also for relaxing and catching up with friends.

“I think the whole thing with the Powerhouse is to have an event space that’s bigger than what we normally have, is open, and is also the place that students can say ‘that’s where I hang out,’” said AAS President Amani Ahmed ’15.