FRAMINGHAM — MassBay Community College took a step toward opening its first building tailored to students and their learning needs.
With Gov. Charlie Baker on hand, the college broke ground Wednesday at the site of what will be its new Center for Health Sciences, Early Childhood and Human Services. Health care workers, early childhood educators and human services professionals will learn and train in the 68,500-square-foot building, anticipated to open in the summer of 2023.
MassBay President David Podell said the “state-of-the-art” building will “advance opportunities across the educational spectrum.”
“We look forward to deepening even further our existing collaborations and sharing this incredible new resource with our educational partners,” he said.
The new building will be at the corner of Mount Wayte Avenue and Franklin Street. Framingham State University first acquired the 8.3 acres of land from Perini Corp. for close to $2.3 million in late 2015 to provide additional parking for students.
MassBay expects to serve 100 students in associate degree programs in nursing and radiologic technology; 200 in certificate programs in a variety of fields, including medical coding, paramedicine, phlebotomy and EMT programs; and 200 more studying to be nursing assistants or home health aides.
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The space will also include parking for about 220 MassBay students.
According to state numbers, the project’s total cost is pegged at $54.5 million.
Since 1990, MassBay’s Framingham campus has been housed in the Farley Building, once a public middle school. The arrangement means college students are training in classrooms that were “not designed for a college,” said Lynne Davis, MassBay’s dean of health sciences.
“We’ve had to adjust ourselves into lab spaces that were never meant to be,” she said.
The new building will include an accredited simulation center, which will feature a central control room with four labs and an immersion room. It will give students hands-on experience “without actually being in the hospital setting or at the scene of the crime,” said Davis.
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“We plan to lease a part of this facility out when we’re not using it, so the community hospitals and people who also need to train in order to upscale their own employees will be able to use our space,” she said.
Davis also said MassBay has had to “restrict enrollment to a certain degree because of the constraints of the (Farley) building.” But its future home will allow the community college to develop new programs, such as an associate program in surgical technology and sonography.
Watertown architectural firm Sasaki will design the project and Lee Kennedy Co. of Quincy will lead construction.
The state offered a lump sum fee of $656,000 for the study and schematic design.
In addition, the state will provide $15 million from a $3.9 billion capital needs budget bill that Baker signed in 2018. Another $10 million will come from a separate bond bill state legislators passed that year.
The new center will create a pipeline of health science workers who will go on to meet the needs of MetroWest employers, said Baker.
“The opportunities for good-paying jobs, jobs you can build a career on, are going to be profound in the commonwealth for decades,” said Baker. “This center has the potential to be life-changing not just for the people who graduate from it but the folks who get served by the folks who graduate from it.”
Zane Razzaq writes about education. Reach her at 508-626-3919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @zanerazz.