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IN THE NEWS: Governor Patrick Breaks Ground on MCLA Center for Science and Innovation
October 14, 2011

Funded through Governor’s 2008 Higher Ed Bond Bill

NORTH ADAMS – Friday, October 14, 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick today joined state and local officials to break ground at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Center for Science and Innovation in North Adams. The project is possible because of $54.5 million in capital funds provided by Governor Patrick’s 2008 Higher Education Bond Bill. The groundbreaking ceremony celebrates the start of construction for the new center, as well as renovations to MCLA’s existing Bowman Hall.

“Investing in education, innovation and infrastructure is investing in our future,” said Governor Patrick. “MCLA’s Center for Science and Innovation represents a powerful commitment to our students, our economy and the region.”

“Massachusetts has a rich history in innovation, which continues to be represented in the many growing companies as well as higher education institutions across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “With this new Science and Innovation Center, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will boast state-of-the-art technology that will help advance student learning and workforce development in the Commonwealth.” 

"We have been so fortunate to have had great support from our legislators and advocacy from countless friends and supporters in helping to realize the vision of the Center for Science and Innovation," said MCLA President Mary K. Grant. "Governor Patrick has been a tireless champion of this project and of MCLA and our students. With this investment from the Commonwealth, students will have new opportunities to work with faculty in the classrooms, on research projects and explore careers in high demand science fields. The center will also serve as a valuable resource for the community and our education and innovation partners across the region and beyond."

Funding for the Center is possible because of $54.5 million in capital funds through the Governor’s 2008 Higher Education Bond Bill and $1.7 million in additional funds from MCLA. It will be the first new publicly-funded building on the campus in 40 years and is expected to be completed in 2013.

The Center for Science and Innovation will position MCLA to support innovation and entrepreneurial programs in Berkshire County and across the Commonwealth. The Center will be a resource for students, faculty, K-12 educators and employers in the region, and will connect MCLA more closely to the research and innovation pipeline in biotechnology, nanotechnology, engineering, health care and other fields.

“Today we are celebrating the advocacy and vision of President Mary Grant, past and present North Adams officials and the Patrick-Murray Administration – all of whom collaborated to make the Center for Science and Innovation a reality for MCLA,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing. “This groundbreaking represents our commitment to ensure Berkshire County’s students and workforce are well-trained to excel in the advancing fields of science and technology.” Downing served as the vice-chairman of the Committee on Higher Education when the bond appropriation used to fund this project was enacted, and still serves on the Committee.

"To have a state-of-the-art center like this means more jobs for the state of Massachusetts,” said Representative Tom Sanniccandro, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. “The Massachusetts economy is based on innovation in science and medical technology. This center means our workforce will remain competitive in these critical areas."

The Center will serve as a high-tech laboratory that will be used by the college's science programs. It will be a unified interdisciplinary facility that will promote research-intensive, discovery-based learning and serve as a community resource. The 65,000 square foot Center will house nine flexible laboratories and research space for biology, environmental science, chemistry, physics, psychology and the Berkshire Environmental Resource Center.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has made significant capital investments in the Commonwealth’s higher education infrastructure. In fiscal year 2008, the Governor increased funding for higher education capital projects through his first five-year capital plan, and shortly after obtained passage of the $2.2 billion, 10-year higher education bond bill that designated $54.5 million in capital funds for MCLA’s Center for Science and Innovation. By fiscal year 2013, higher education investments will represent more than 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s entire bond cap, up from three percent in fiscal year 2007.



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