Governor Deval Patrick visited Mount Wachusett Community College on Oct. 3 to announce $37.9 million in capital funds for the college’s new science and technology building, furthering the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to building an affordable, world-class system of public higher education in Massachusetts. The college will use the funds to modernize the Haley Academic Center and construct a new science and technology wing.
“Mount Wachusett Community College is full of talent and promise and potential. These funds will help the students and faculty seize the opportunities before them,” Governor Patrick said.
“Education is our calling card. The concentration of brain power and a well-educated workforce is what we are first known for all over the world. That’s a great advantage. There’s a knowledge explosion happening in the global economy and we are only going to keep the edge that we have if we invest in our educational institutions,” he said, adding that new capital projects planned for campuses throughout the state are aimed at bolstering science, math, technology and engineering initiatives to bring the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities to the forefront academically.
“This investment will not only allow Mount Wachusett Community College to better equip its students with the skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in the workforce, but will also benefit entire communities in the region,” said Secretary of Education Paul Reville.
Secretary Reville praised MWCC for its strength as well as the important role it plays in the community. “We’re about education. We’re about innovation, and Mount Wachusett has led the way on a number of projects,” ranging from wind turbines to the Pathways Early College Innovation School, he said. The governor, with the support of the Legislature, has committed funding for campus improvements across Massachusetts, Secretary Reville said, “to give students and faculty a better place to work that enables them to reach the levels of academic achievement and proficiencies that will enable them to staff and advance a 21st century economy and prosperity in Massachusetts.”
The governor and secretary were joined by MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, State Senator Stephen Brewer, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means Committee, State Senator Jennifer Flanagan, vice chair of the committee, and Student Trustee Christine Eck in announcing the funding to the college community.
“This is historic in the sense of the development of Mount Wachusett Community College and for our students,” President Asquino said, thanking the governor and the legislators for their support. “It is a pleasure and privilege to welcome Governor Patrick, Secretary Reville and our legislators back to our campus. When he was elected, the governor had a vision of supporting public higher education in Massachusetts. He demonstrated that not by his words, but by his actions.”
“This investment will provide an exciting opportunity for Mount Wachusett Community College to enhance educational opportunities and provide new and innovative educational opportunities for students,” Senator Brewer said. “By improving the infrastructure at our higher education institutions, we are investing in our future.”
“I am very happy that the Mount will be receiving funds to modernize the science facilities and the Haley building,” said Senator Flanagan. “Certainly under the leadership of President Dan Asquino, the Mount remains a leader in innovation. However it is vital that our students have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities so as they enter the workforce, they are competing on a level playing field.”
Funding to begin the architectural designs for the expansion and renovation was approved in February, and the planning stage is now underway. The project is envisioned as a 39,000-square-foot addition on the Gardner campus for new laboratories, specialized space, and general classrooms, 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, the health sciences and other programs requiring science courses, would be among the beneficiaries of this new state-of-the-art wing.
Community colleges across the state are receiving a total of $298 million over five years through the Patrick-Murray Administration’s capital plan.