Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed a bill authorizing approximately $3.9 billion to address statewide capital needs, with $950 million going to public higher education projects.
“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 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.”
Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) is one of the community colleges receiving state bond funds. The college received $25 million toward a new science and engineering center. The new center likely will cost about $38 million and take about three-and-a-half years to design and build.
Bunker Hill Community College, awarded $25.7 million, will undertake a major renovation project at its Charlestown Campus. And Berkshire Community College (BCC) will use its $5.5 million grant to transform the first floor of its administration building into a student success center.
MassBay Community College received $25 million to invest in the new MassBay Health Science Center in Framingham.
“This funding will allow MassBay to not only strengthen our Health Sciences programs by investing in a permanent location in Framingham, but it will continue to allow us to meet workforce demands of the MetroWest region,” said MassBay President David Podell.
Skyline College received a two-year, $298,611 grant to continue its free round-trip shuttle service between the Daly City BART station and the campus in San Bruno. The grant was approved by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and the City and County Association of Governments of San Mateo County. Since the start of service, the shuttle has consistently seen ridership of more than 6,000 rides per month.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue this free service for students and the community. Potential students who otherwise had no means of transportation to attend college now have access to world-class educational opportunities,” said Skyline College President Regina Stanback Stroud.
Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) will use a $15,000 grant from the T. Rowe Price Foundation to help connect students in West Baltimore to jobs, community resources and higher education opportunities. The funding will allow BCCC to hire think-tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS) to develop a community engagement plan to link underserved residents with the opportunity for a college education, workforce skills development, job attainment and increased access to community resources.
Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), in partnership with Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), has received a $584,274 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program to assist community college Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) nationally. The HSI ATE Hub research project will enable the partnering organizations to link interventions they separately developed with NSF support to improve the success rate of community college HSIs seeking support from ATE. The project will emphasize cultural practices and resources that are critical for the success of underrepresented college students.
This is a two-step intervention. HSIs that have developed STEM program improvement plans through the comprehensive SFAz Kickstarter technical assistance process will transfer to FDTC Mentor-Connect when they identify ATE as the program from which they hope to receive funding. FDTC Mentor-Connect will then provide mentoring and technical support to guide HSI faculty and staff members through the ATE proposal development process.