Brockton’s Downtown College Campus on Track
As reported in The Enterprise, Feb. 20, 2015
BROCKTON – A satellite college campus, seen as a catalyst for downtown development, is moving ahead despite major changes in state government. The campus – a collaboration among Massasoit Community College, Bridgewater State University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston – was announced last fall by then Gov. Deval Patrick after years of effort by city officials.
It was hailed as a “tipping point” for the city and “history in the making” because it is expected to replace a long-vacant building at the entrance to downtown, attract hundreds of college students, and spur the opening of new businesses. But the election last November brought a new governor – a Republican known as a fiscal watchdog – and then also a new commissioner of the state agency overseeing the downtown campus project.
Carol Gladstone on Tuesday was named the Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, responsible for real estate services and major public building construction. Upon announcing Gladstone, Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said her first priority would be a “wholesale review of operations with the goal of increasing efficiency and improving performance with our state asset portfolio.” However, that review does not include the Brockton project, which remains on schedule, according to a DCAMM spokesperson.
The $21.5 million, state-funded project, dubbed the “Downtown Brockton Higher Education Collaborative,” is in the study and design phase now. A certified study for renovating 226 Main St. is expected to be completed in June. The campus is expected to offer classes to some 1,000 students, creating 250 construction and permanent jobs, state officials said last fall. The building once housed the landmark Ganley’s clothing store, on Main Street directly across from Belmont Street. Built in 1927, it has has three floors above grade and one floor below grade, and each floor has 9,600 square feet of living space. The city sold the building to the state for $1.
Since the announcement in November, representatives from the state, city and each of the three colleges have met monthly on the project. Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston is the architect working on the study.
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