Massachusetts Daily Collegian

State gives $85 million for a new science building

By Katie Landeck

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The state released $85 million to the University of Massachusetts on Tuesday to fund the construction of a new sciences building on campus.

Collegian File Photo

The building, which will house the chemistry and physics programs, will be completed within the next four or five years, according to UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

“We are very please and very excited to add this new facility,” Blaguszewski said.

The building is likely to be constructed on the north side of campus near the other science facilities, but as of yet, no plans have been finalized. An assessment of where the building will be located and what types of laboratory, office and classroom spaces should be included is expected to be completed by the end of the academic year, according to Blaguszewski.

“I don’t have specifics of the details, but (the building) will certainly include research,” Blaguszewski said.

Chemistry and physics were chosen because of current limitations at the departments’ facilities in the Lederle Graduate Research Center.

Officials have hoped for a while to remove the chemistry department from the building’s high rises, and move it to a ground-level facility, according to Blaguszewski. Additionally, the physics department needs more space to conduct experiments, he said.

The $85 million is a portion of the $607 million that Gov. Deval Patrick allocated to the UMass system on Tuesday, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The funds come from a $2.2 billion bond bill signed into legislation in 2008.

“We invest in education because we believe that it is the single most important investment government can make in our collective future,” Patrick said in a statement.

Plans for the new building have been in the works for “a number of years,” according to Blaguszewski. He noted that the recession delayed many projects as the state’s capacity to loan out money was diminished by the economy.

The bond bill has funded or partially funded many of the current construction projects on campus, including the Life Science Laboratory Building, the New Academic Classroom Building and the Commonwealth Honors College Complex.

Blaguszewski said he also expects the state to soon release funds intended to support deferred maintenance. Buildings scheduled for renovations include Lederle, Machmer and Morrill.

The recently released money will also fund projects on the other UMass campuses, as well as many of the state’s other universities and colleges.

UMass Boston will receive $100 million to build a new classroom building to help the school keep pace with enrollment. UMass Lowell will receive $35 million to expand its business school. At UMass Dartmouth, funds will be used to expand the school’s library.

Patrick also awarded $2.5 million in Performance Incentive Fund grants – which support new and existing programs that are linked to the state’s workforce – to the UMass campuses and state universities on Tuesday.

The Amherst campus was granted $112,501.33 to expand the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program.

The announcement came while UMass President Robert Caret was on a 500-mile, four-day bus tour to talk about keeping higher education affordable and raise awareness of the upcoming 150th anniversary of UMass.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “State gives $85 million for a new science building”

  1. Daniel Malone on October 4th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Newer Dirt.

  2. ALUM on October 4th, 2012 4:39 pm

    That’s great but tuition and fees will be up another 15-20% and UMass still won’t have sufficient housing for more than the freshman class. President Caret can keep talking about keeping education affordable but the solutions on the table include extending student loans to 20 years. Good luck with that when you want to buy a house when you’re 30 and have another 10 years of loan payments.

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