Physical science building may be built at UMass

By Collegian News Staff

An $80 million physical science building that would feature labs for both chemistry and physics programs may be erected on the University of Massachusetts campus within several years – depending on if the project gets full state funding – after the University’s Board of Trustees yesterday voted to approve a five-year capital plan that includes the new building proposal.

The potential new building, which was part of a plan that included about $1 billion for current and potential projects on the Amherst campus, would have to be wholly funded by the state, which would have to release monies to the school to expend on the project.

“This would be a state-funded building if such monies become available,” University spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said of the project in an email yesterday.

“We’re hopeful that there’s a possibility – not a guarantee – that the state will be releasing some money through capital” for the project, added Blaguszewski in a phone interview last night.

The project, Blaguszewski noted, is a top priority of the University. Officials on campus, though, have not yet announced a specific location for the potential building and have not given any sort of time frame as to when it could be built if it were funded.

“It would still take a substantial amount of time to build it,” said Blaguszewski.

The potential project is on a list for the five-year plan that includes around $3.1 billion in current and potential projects for the whole UMass system, Brian Douglas, the associate vice president for budget, planning and administration in the UMass system said yesterday.

The list specific to the Amherst campus – amounting to about $1 billion – also includes the ongoing construction of Commonwealth Honors College building, the life sciences building and the academic building, which is slated to be opened in 2014. It also accounts for $30 million in improvements that are slated to take place sometime at the McGuirk Alumni Stadium, in addition to a number of other current and potential projects and renovations.

Seventy-one percent of the funding for all of the projects on the five-year plan list is expected to be footed by the University, while 29 percent of the funding is expected to be provided by the state, Douglas said. The financing for the potential physical science building, though, would have to be completely funded by the state in order for construction to take place.

—    Collegian News Staff