News: Press Releases

September 11, 2013

UMass trustees committee backs $3.8 billion capital plan, seeks to continue era of 'dramatic transformation' of campuses

  • The UMass System

BOSTON - Sept. 11, 2013: Seeking to continue the physical transformation of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system, a Board of Trustees committee today gave preliminary approval to a capital plan that would authorize spending up to $3.8 billion on UMass construction and renovation over the next five years.

The plan will now go before the full Board of Trustees for final approval at its meeting a week from today in Amherst.
"Interest in the University of Massachusetts continues to reach record levels and that is a function of many things, with the dramatic transformation of our facilities certainly being a key factor," said UMass President Robert L. Caret.

"Over the past decade, more than $2 billion has been invested in academic, research, student housing and student life buildings across the UMass system, and the creation of these important new facilities has helped to fuel our enrollment and reputational surges," President Caret said.

"These facilities are critical to our ability to attract and retain outstanding students and faculty and will assist in keeping Massachusetts competitive in the global economy," said Henry M. Thomas III, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees.
The capital plan in essence is a compendium of the construction and renovation projects advanced to the Board of Trustees by the President and the campus Chancellors, with the understanding that projects will go forward based on the availability of funding and based on the priorities of the campuses. A project cannot commence unless it has been approved by the Board of Trustees and added to the capital plan, which is updated every year.

The $3.8 billion plan, which would span fiscal years 2014-2018, builds on the more than $2.4 billion invested in capital improvements on UMass campuses over the previous decade.

In addition to adding 27 new projects with a projected total cost of $261.8 million to the capital plan, members of the Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance were briefed on projects completed during the past year.

Completed projects include the $350 million Albert L. Sherman Center at UMass Medical School in Worcester, the $46 million expansion and renovation of the Claire T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth, and the $13.7 million renovation of Goessmann Laboratory at UMass Amherst.

The new projects include:

Amherst: $12.6 million for repairs to Machmer Hall
Boston: $12.5 million for renovations to Healey Library
Dartmouth: $11.4 million for the purchase of the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River
Lowell: $10 million for improvements to campus athletics and recreation facilities, including projects needed as a result of the move to the Division 1 level in all sports
UMass Medical School: $15.5 million to upgrade research and lab facilities

In all, 184 UMass projects are included in the $3.8 billion capital plan and the projects fall into four main categories - basic infrastructure, research, teaching and learning, and student housing and student life. The capital projects are funded primarily by the University and the state, with UMass using current funds in some instances but borrowing to finance much of the work. The plan submitted today projects the University paying for about 72 percent of the work envisioned and the state the remaining 28 percent.

"We are very appreciative of the support we have received from Governor Patrick and the Legislature and also thank the UMass Building Authority for making a critical contribution to the University and the Commonwealth,'' said Trustee Victor Woolridge of Springfield, who chairs the Administration and Finance Committee.

"We are committed to maintaining the great progress that has been achieved over the past decade because top facilities are so important to our academic and research missions," President Caret said. "The work we have undertaken is dispersed across Massachusetts and has helped to fuel the state's construction industry, which is just another example of the tremendous impact we have on the Commonwealth."

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073, Ann Scales, 617-287-4084