FRAMINGHAM – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today, signed a $3.9 billion capital needs budget, that includes funding for higher education campuses, health and human services facilities, state office buildings, public safety facilities, and courts.
Governor Baker signed the bill on the campus of Westfield State University, which is planning a renovation of Parenzo Hall into a state-of-the-art facility that will house technology-rich classrooms and two new academic centers.
As part of the $3.9 billion bill, MassBay Community College will receive $15 million for a “new allied health academic facility to be located in Framingham.” The facility is expected to be built on Franklin Street, although MassBay has not confirmed any details.
The Bill also provides a total of $14.3 million for Framingham State University. Eleven million is to create a “regional collaborative education center” at Whittemore library at Framingham State. Framingham State University.
Another 3.3 million is for the renovation of Crocker Hall on the Framingham campus.
“These bond authorizations will ensure our state facilities are well-maintained and well-equipped to best serve our residents and communities,” said Sen. Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means,in a media statement. “In particular, the investment in MassBay’s allied health facility in Framingham is an important first step in our continued work to bolster health and life sciences education in MetroWest.”
“This bond authorization will help support our approach to make the most productive use of taxpayer dollars while addressing the deferred maintenance backlog,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, in a media release.
“This plan marks a critical turning point in the Commonwealth’s approach to capital funding for public higher education. Our goal is to maximize the use and functionality of existing spaces; align programs to meet regional and statewide workforce needs; strengthen partnerships between higher education and private sector employers; and encourage more creative and efficient use of existing spaces,” Education Secretary James Peyser said, in a press release. “We recognize our public colleges and universities face some daunting challenges when it comes to their capital assets. Our annual investment in deferred maintenance projects will be at least three times greater than in the recent past.”
The bond bill authorizes $950 million overall for public higher education investments. The Administration’s five-year Capital Investment Plan has budgeted $190 million for capital repairs, renovations and improvements at state universities and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts system in Fiscal Year 2019, including $37.3 million in FY19 for critical repairs at all 29 campuses in the state system and $50 million for significant infrastructure projects to address potential operational and life safety issues.
“We are committed to funding critical repairs and capital improvements for all 29 campuses in the state’s public higher education system,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago, in a media release. “This strategic investment is not only fiscally responsible and necessary, but also aligns well with the public higher education system’s goals of supporting college access, affordability and success for today’s students, and in turn the Commonwealth’s workforce and economy for decades to come.”
In addition to the $950 million for higher education projects, authorizations in the bond bill signed today include:
- $760.5 million for court facilities statewide;
- $680 million for construction, renovations, and accessibility improvements at state office buildings;
- $401 million for health and human services facilities (Governor Baker previously signed legislation authorizing $199 million for a new long-term care facility at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea, in November 2017);
- $500 million for public safety facilities, and an additional $20 million for public safety equipment; and
- $235 million for energy efficiency and climate change resiliency projects at state facilities.