Senator Spilka Applauds Construction Plans for the Science Center at Framingham State University
As part of the her commitment to improving public higher education in the MetroWest, Senator Karen Spilka today visited the future site of an upgraded $63 million Science Center in Hemenway Hall at Framingham State University. She joined Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and university officials to announce the timeline for the project. The Science Center funding is part of the record $2 billion bond bill passed by the Legislature to improve facilities across the state’s 29 public institutions of higher education.
“Framingham State has led the way in preparing teachers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields,” stated Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “With the need for FSU’s STEM expertise only likely to increase in the coming decades, it is essential that their facilities be up to the task. This funding has been a top priority for the university and for me, and I’m proud to join the Lieutenant Governor in unveiling these plans today.”
“Framingham State University is preparing the future generation of leaders for our Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “The Governor and I are firmly committed to providing our public campuses with the resources and support they need to meet the growing demand of students with the same level of excellence they have provided for many years.”
When completed, the $63 million Science Center will provide students and faculty with access to cutting edge technology and students with the opportunity to work with the equipment that they will encounter in future careers.
The $63 million Science Center builds on the news that Governor Patrick recently directed an additional $1.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to Framingham State University as part of his efforts to bolster funding for higher education across the Commonwealth. The additional $1.8 million brings the total state and federal support to Framingham State this year to over $23 million. Over the past two years, the Governor has directed over $7 million in federal stimulus funds to Framingham State. The funds are being used to support staffing levels, the purchase of new equipment, and scholarships for students, as well as projects to enhance the dining hall, library and college center so that the campus can meet growing enrollment demands.
“On behalf of the students, faculty, staff and Trustees of Framingham State University, we are deeply grateful for this major capital investment in our campus,” said Dr. Timothy Flanagan, President of Framingham State University. “The new University Laboratory Sciences Building will provide our students and faculty with 21st Century facilities and equipment to learn science and conduct scientific research. This investment is critically important to the University’s future, as we develop undergraduate and graduate programs in science, mathematics and computing that will lead to wonderful careers for our graduates, and as we partner with the many world-class life sciences and technology firms in the MetroWest region.”
Framingham State is one of six state colleges which are now state universities thanks to the state Legislature. Proponents of the change have long argued that the added prestige of the university name will help students compete in the job market. Additionally, they predict that the renaming effort will attract non-state funding, such as foundation grants and create new opportunities for alumni and corporate giving.
The Commonwealth has also invested deeply on the Framingham State campus. In Fiscal Year 2009, the state used $7 million from the capital budget to renovate Dwight Hall that includes its Performing Arts Center.
In addition to ARRA, Framingham State has also received other federal support including interest rate subsidy through the “Build America Bonds” program to construct a new residence hall to meet a growing enrollment; this subsidy will reduce interest costs by over $10 million over the term of the bond. Federal funding has also supported solar photovoltaic installations on the University’s College Center and Athletic Center.
Finally, Framingham State is the lead partner in the Greater Boston Readiness Center working with UMASS Boston, Wheelock College, Massachusetts Bay Community College and the Greater Boston Regional Collaboratives Organization.