In 2018, voters approved a plan to construct a new school for all Easthampton pre-K through eighth grade students, to be built on the site of an existing middle school. The city’s planning department commissioned a set of studies by Conway students to help envision new pedestrian and bicycle routes for students and residents. In 2019, students Kristen Gessinger, Mary Sage Napolitan, and Mallory Rasky ’19 conducted a preliminary study to assess the existing infrastructure (Emerging Pathways: A Conceptual Multi-Use Trail Network).

Cover of Emerging Pathways project

In 2020, students Galen Hammitt and Walker Powell ’20 focused on one of the proposed routes that would connect pedestrians and cyclists of a large residential neighborhood to the new school and a local park (Plains to School: A Conceptual Shared Use Path for Easthampton Students and Residents).

The new Mountain View School opened in the fall of 2022, and this summer the city began several trail improvements as an interim step in enhancing the trail while the city works toward a more expansive ADA-compliant path connecting the school to the nearby Easthampton high school. This work was recently featured in a Daily Hampshire Gazette article.

While Conway student projects benefit communities in numerous ways, it is a special pleasure for us to experience an extended collaboration such as this one, and to see student project work manifest in the real environment. This implementation speaks to the professional quality of the work that students complete during their year here, and can offer graduates both an applied design to add to their portfolio and sometimes even an opportunity to continue working with the community as a professional designer or planner.

Photo of trail improvement completed in summer 2023.

A recently constructed bridge, part of the trail improvement project done by the City of Easthampton. Photo by Carol Lollis.