Local legislators and Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner Carole Cornelison visited MWCC on Feb. 21 to announce $800,000 to fund the design and study for a new science and technology building.
The project is envisioned as a 39,000-square-foot addition on the Gardner campus for new laboratories, specialized space, and general classrooms, as well as the replacement of the existing greenhouse and critical infrastructure upgrades and accessibility improvements to the Haley Building. Following the design and study phase, the $37.9 million construction project will be one of the largest in North Central Massachusetts.
Students enrolled in MWCC’s Natural Resources and Energy Management programs, as well as the health sciences and other programs requiring science courses, would be among the beneficiaries of this new state-of-the-art wing. The preliminary plan for the addition includes 21 classrooms and 12 laboratories.
“This funding is an important investment in the future of MWCC and for the citizens of Central Massachusetts,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre). “As we come out of one of the worst recessions in history, investments like this one that improve infrastructure and invest in education are important to our continued economic growth.”
The study of the school, its needs, and the site for the addition could take about six months to a year to complete followed by approximately one year for the design process before the project goes out to bid. Money for the project will come from a state-authorized bond.
President Daniel M. Asquino welcomed the state officials to the campus and provided a tour of the campus. Founded in 1963, Mount Wachusett Community College built its main campus in Gardner in the early 1970s. Joining Senator Brewer and Commissioner Cornelison for the announcement were Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster), Representative Stephen DiNatali (D-Fitchburg) and Representative Richard Bastien (R-Gardner).
“We’re excited for the opportunities this new science and technology building will provide for our students,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We greatly appreciate the support of our legislators, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Patrick-Murray administration for this project, and their commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for students who traditionally remain in the Commonwealth after graduating and contribute to the betterment of our communities.”
“This is a structurally sound building, but it is 40 years old. The science labs and a majority of the classrooms are 40 years old. The new building will allow us to update all of our classrooms and laboratories, which support our science and health care programs. It will truly bring the entire campus into the 21st century. When our students graduate, they will leave with a state-of-the-art experience,” President Asquino said.
“It is tremendously gratifying to see the Patrick-Murray Administration’s ambitious capital program for higher education come to fruition,” Commissioner Cornelison said. “We are working hard to build first class public higher education facilities in every region of the Commonwealth, and this project at Mount Wachusett Community College is yet another example of the administration’s commitment to that goal.”
Pictured: MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino with DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison, Senator Stephen M. Brewer and Representative Richard Bastien on a tour of the 40-year-old main campus to view areas that would benefit from a new science and technology wing.