For Immediate Release - August 07, 2008

Governor Patrick Signs $2.2 Billion Higher Education Bond Bill

Investment Will Modernize Facilities to Prepare Students for Success in 21st Century Global Economy

BOSTON - Thursday, August 07, 2008 - Governor Deval Patrick has signed into law a bill to invest $2.2 billion over 10 years for new building or renovation projects at every one of the Commonwealth's 29 community and state colleges and at each of the University of Massachusetts's campuses.

"This legislation represents an important investment in the future of our Commonwealth, and in the future of our students," said Governor Patrick.

The bill sets aside up to $1 billion for the five University of Massachusetts campuses, and $1.2 billion for the state and community colleges. Funds will pay for much needed projects at each of the Commonwealth's public higher education campuses, ranging from minor renovation to new construction Examples include:

  • Modernizations and expansions of classroom space
  • New academic centers for allied health
  • Laboratory science and technology
  • Repairs to existing research centers
  • Library renovations
  • General deferred maintenance projects and sealing of old buildings

"This bill is historic not only in terms of the sheer dollar investment it makes in higher education, which is significant, but in aligning the educational and economic needs of the Commonwealth," said Frederick W. Clark, Chair of the Board of Higher Education.

"The Commonwealth's public institutions of higher education have been vastly underfunded over the past decade, making it difficult for the schools to remain affordable," said Senator Robert A. O'Leary, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. "This bond bill is a momentous commitment to helping the public campuses stay innovative and modern, and most importantly accessible to all of the Commonwealth's citizens."

"There is a tremendous and long standing need for investment in the infrastructure that supports our state and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts. These institutions are attempting to educate a 21st century workforce in facilities that are often decades out of date and deteriorating. This bill provides funds for every public higher education institution in this state to help address these pressing capital needs," said Rep. Kevin J. Murphy, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education. "I believe that investing in our public higher education system pays dividends not only for our students and their individual well-being, but for the economic health and success of the Commonwealth as a whole: that it is essential to maintaining the long term viability of our economy and our standard of living."

The bill is based on the Commonwealth's first ever debt affordability analysis and five-year capital plan. It authorizes the Governor to implement a significant shift in capital spending priorities reflected in the five-year capital plan, taking higher education capital investments from just 3% of all state bond-funded spending to 10% of all bond-funded capital spending in just five years. The bill is also based on a master capital plan developed in consultation with the Board of Higher Education (BHE), college and university presidents and chancellors, the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM), and three nationally recognized architectural and planning firms. The plan addresses the unique mission and needs at each campus.

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