- Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to improving public higher education in the Commonwealth, Education Secretary Paul Reville today highlighted a $54.5 million investment at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) to build a new Center for Science and Innovation and renovate the Bowman Hall on campus. The projects are being funded as part of the Administration's record $2 billion bond bill to improve facilities across the state's 29 public institutions of higher education.
The new Science and Innovation Center will increase opportunities for MCLA students interested in pursuing careers in the sciences and will serve as a central location for all of MCLA’s science and related programs promoting research-intensive science learning and hands-on discovery. The funding will also allow for the complete renovation of Bowman Hall on campus.
"Our best resource as a state is our people and our best way forward is through a highly motivated and well-prepared workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Massachusetts is a worldwide leader in STEM but we must keep making progress to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future. This new facility will help ensure we maintain our leadership."
"Massachusetts is a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, and it is critical that we provide our students with resources that will enhance their learning experience and help them develop the skills needed for a future in STEM industries," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "As Massachusetts continues to build partnerships with academia, business, and community organizations to advance STEM education, the Center for Science and Innovation at MCLA will be a leading example for STEM initiatives in Berkshire County and the Commonwealth."
The Science and Innovation Center will also serve as a community resource and will contribute to a robust pipeline of talent, helping Massachusetts to remain a world leader in scientific research and leadership.
The Center for Science and Innovation at MCLA builds on the news that Governor Patrick recently directed an additional $1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to MCLA as part of his efforts to bolster funding for higher education across the Commonwealth. The additional $1 million brings the total state and federal support to MCLA this year to over $13 million. Over the past two years, the Governor has directed over $5 million in federal stimulus funds to MCLA.
“The Center for Science and Innovation at MCLA will ensure that students have the opportunity to explore careers in the high demand science fields,” said Secretary Reville. “The Commonwealth is fully committed to investing in our public campuses and our students to ensure they are prepared for a future of success.”
"I am pleased a site has been chosen for MCLA Science Center,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing. “Investing in public higher education is about jobs. Jobs in the short-term while building the first new building on the campus in over a quarter century and jobs in the long-term when producing a skilled workforce for years to come. I thank the Administration for their commitment to this project; and I would like to highlight the efforts of the Dean of the Berkshire Delegation, Dan Bosley, without whom this day would not be possible." Senator Downing serves as the Acting Chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education.
“This is obviously great news for MCLA, but also for all of western Massachusetts because MCLA is one of the finest institutions of public higher education in the state and contributes greatly to the local community,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli. “Higher education is one of the best investments we can make for our children’s future and this is exactly the type of commitment we need to make in order to continue to stay competitive and attract topnotch talent to Massachusetts.”
According to MCLA President Mary K. Grant, the College is thrilled to take the next step toward realizing this new building and the educational and economic benefits it will provide for the Berkshires.
“We look forward to celebrating the site selection,” said Grant. “This project is important to the College, the City of North Adams and the region. The Center for Science and Innovation will be a state-of-the-art facility that fosters new opportunities for collaboration and new ways of engaging students. Thanks to the support of Governor Patrick, Lt. Governor Murray, along with members of the Berkshire County delegation, members of the legislature, and many more, MCLA and Berkshire County will play a major role in the future of science education and innovation in the Commonwealth.”
"It is tremendously gratifying for our agency to see the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious capital program for higher education come to fruition," said Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner David B. Perini. "We are working hard to build first class public higher education facilities in every region of the Commonwealth, and this project at MCLA is yet another example of the Administration's commitment to that goal."
"The City is extremely lucky to have such a community partner in MCLA,” said North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright. “While this project is very important to the college, the ripple effect that this will have on North Adams and our public school system is beyond measure. I thank President Grant as well as all government officials involved for their commitment to seeing this project become a reality."
“Pittsfield, along with all the communities in Berkshire County, celebrates this exciting next step in the building of a Science Center at MCLA.” adds Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto. “The advancement of STEM education at MCLA aligns perfectly with the goals of Pittsfield Public Schools in preparing our students for jobs in the 21st century. Through the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education we have been able to work together to align our goals to improve both the quality and the accessibility of higher education.”
The announcement of the additional $1 million for MCLA is part of the Governor's work to direct an additional $51 million in federal stimulus dollars to the Commonwealth's 29 institutions of public higher education, bringing total recovery funding for public campuses this year to $71 million. Since 2008, the Governor has ensured higher education received more than $350 million from ARRA. The announcement also included an additional $3 million to the state's scholarship program to help more students pay for higher education and $750,000 to the Dual Enrollment program which gives high school students an opportunity to study and receive credit for college level courses while still in school.
Massachusetts has invested in other projects at MCLA through the state budget and other bond funding including energy upgrades across the campus, investments in the dual enrollment program, support for student scholarships and the renovation of Murdoch Hall.