For Immediate Release - November 14, 2012


UTEC's Grand Opening
Governor Patrick celebrates the grand re-opening of the newly transformed United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell. (Photo Credit: Eric Haynes / Governor's Office) View additional photos

LOWELL – Wednesday, November 14, 2012 – Governor Deval Patrick yesterday joined state and local officials and youth to celebrate the grand re-opening of the newly transformed United Teen Equality Center (UTEC). The center, which provides education, workforce development and employment opportunities to Lowell’s highest-risk youth, received an energy efficiency upgrade that both highlights the energy efficiency opportunities available in historic buildings, and provides an example of sustainable practices for the young people who use the building.

“I continue to be inspired by the determination of the teens here at UTEC,” said Governor Patrick. “Because of their hard work, as well as the investments by local, state and federal partners, we have created an energy efficient, sustainable building that will help generations of young people reach their full potential.” 

The Patrick-Murray Administration directed a combination of $1.9 million from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $850,000 from MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, to get the renovation of UTEC’s historic building and a major addition off the ground in May 2011.

“We are thrilled with the energy efficient transformation of this facility,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “It is our hope this project can serve as a great example to other communities in the Commonwealth, and across the nation, for how historic buildings can become energy efficient.”

UTEC’s energy efficient renovations include the installation of a 34 kilowatt solar PV system, the conversion of the church’s steeple into a solar chimney as part of a passive cooling system, and an electric vehicle charging station outside the main entrance. The facility is expected to be the first LEED Platinum certified building in Lowell, and the oldest in the nation. It also features a commercial kitchen and café open to the community, a performance center with audio and video production and new classrooms for alternative education programs. The building will now support 20 new full-time positions for UTEC’s older youth population, and enable enrollment in alternative education and employment skills programs to double.

“Today, UTEC is celebrating so many people who support our most disconnected young people on their paths to more sustainable lives, including the investment in UTEC’s green building as a model of sustainability for years to come,” said UTEC Executive Director Gregg Croteau. “We could not be more excited to celebrate this milestone with the Governor, members of his cabinet, and so many other supporters from throughout the Commonwealth.”

“This renovation and addition shows how well MassDevelopment’s Community Service 501(c)(3) Loan Fund complemented the efforts of the Patrick-Murray Administration and our federal partners,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “MassDevelopment appreciates the opportunity to help UTEC provide a more comprehensive workforce development program, become more energy-efficient, and create 20 permanent positions and more than 100 construction jobs for Merrimack Valley workers.”

The $1.9 million in ARRA funding was allocated to UTEC by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as part of the State Energy Program’s High Performance Building initiative, which directed more than $15 million in grants to ten projects to deliver dramatic savings, create hundreds of jobs, and demonstrate replicable solutions to common energy challenges.


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