For Immediate Release - October 26, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION CELEBRATES GROUNDBREAKING OF NEW SCIENCE FACILITY AT FITCHBURG STATE UNIVERSITY

Upgraded facility made possible by Patrick-Murray Administration $2 billion bond bill for higher education

FITCHBURG - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to improving public higher education in the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today joined state, local and university officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $57.3 million modernization project to the Science Facility at Fitchburg State University. Funding for the Science Facility is part of the Administration's record $2 billion bond bill to improve facilities across the state's 29 public institutions of higher education. Today's ceremony also highlighted the official re-naming of the university to Fitchburg State University.

When completed, the $57.3 million Science Facility will provide students and faculty at the university with access to cutting edge technology, and give students the opportunity to work with the types of equipment they will encounter in future careers.

"Our best resource as a state is our people and our best way forward is through a highly motivated and well-prepared workforce ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Massachusetts is a worldwide leader in STEM but we must keep making progress to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future. This new facility will help ensure we maintain our leadership."

"Fitchburg State University is preparing the future generation of leaders for our Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy 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."

The $57.3 million Science Facility builds on the news that Governor Patrick recently directed an additional $2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to Fitchburg State University as part of his efforts to bolster funding for higher education across the Commonwealth. The additional $2 million brings the total state and federal support to Fitchburg State this year to over $25 million. Over the past two years, the Governor has directed over $10 million in federal stimulus funds to Fitchburg State, which 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.

"This is an historic occasion for Fitchburg State, where we will be celebrating a name that reflects the comprehensive institution we have become," said Fitchburg State University President Robert V. Antonucci. "At the same time, with the groundbreaking for our new Science Center, we signal the start of construction on our first new academic facility since 1963. This state-of-the-art, 55,000-square-foot structure will provide our students and faculty with classrooms, laboratories, offices and support spaces that are second to none."

"I am thrilled that we have made it to this point. Under President Antonucci's leadership, I have watched Fitchburg State's campus be recreated and enhanced; the new Science Center will be a very welcome addition. We will now be able to give students the very best environment to learn in! Rep. DiNatale and I worked very hard with the Administration, in particular Lt. Governor Tim Murray, to make sure Fitchburg got its fair share of funding," said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan.

"This is a momentous day for the city of Fitchburg as we celebrate the new status of Fitchburg State University, as well as the ground breaking for the new 55,000 square foot state of the art science facility. Again this is just another example of the commitment from the Patrick, Murray administration to the citizens in North Central Mass, particularly the city of Fitchburg," said Representative Stephen L. DiNatale.

"The vision of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray to support infrastructure projects like the new science center at Fitchburg State University makes them leaders in workforce training, innovation and the creation of jobs," said Mayor Lisa Wong.

The announcement of a $2 million award for Fitchburg State is part of the Governor's work to direct an additional $51 million in federal stimulus dollars to the Commonwealth's 29 institutions of public higher education, bringing total recovery funding for public campuses this year to $71 million. Since 2008, the Governor has ensured higher education received more than $350 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The announcement also included an additional $3 million to the state's scholarship program to help more students pay for higher education and $750,000 to the Dual Enrollment program which gives high school students an opportunity to study and receive credit for college level courses while still in school.

Fitchburg State is one of six state colleges now designated as state universities thanks to the advocacy and action of the Patrick-Murray Administration. 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.

Fitchburg State is also a lead partner in the Central Massachusetts Readiness Center working with UMASS Boston, Wheelock College, Massachusetts Bay Community College and the Greater Boston Regional Collaboratives Organization.

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