Governor Patrick Breaks Ground on MCLA Center for Science and Innovation


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NORTH ADAMS - 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." 

According to MCLA President Mary K. Grant, this is an exciting time for MCLA and the Berkshires, "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 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."

"As we break ground we are one step closer to opening the doors of a facility that will continue to advance the College's role as the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and the important work of the Patrick/Murray administration in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives," Grant continued. "There is much work ahead, but the groundbreaking is a significant milestone as we look down the road to cutting a ribbon and welcoming the first students into the classrooms and labs."

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.

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, among others, $54.5 million of capital funds towards 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.