Spurk Building Major Renovations
During a speech given at a Merrimack Valley Chamber luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 21, Governor Deval Patrick announced $7.9 in funding for Northern Essex Community College. The college will receive $7 million to modernize the Spurk Building in Haverhill and the City of Lawrence will receive a $900,000 MassWorks award to create a connection between Northern Essex’s new Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health and Technology Center and Essex Street in Lawrence.
“Growth requires investment, and these investments in education and infrastructure will bring growth and opportunity to the Merrimack Valley and beyond,” said Governor Patrick. “If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well.”
In his remarks to the chamber, the governor shared some of NECC’s innovative initiatives that will help prepare local residents for careers. He specifically mentioned the Lawrence Career Academy, a collaboration with UMass Lowell; the Lab Science Program which prepares students for careers in the life sciences as well as other high-growth fields; and the Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health and Technology Center which will open this January on Common Street in Lawrence.
“Economic growth across the whole of the Commonwealth is our goal,” said Governor Patrick. “Investing in education, infrastructure, and innovation is our strategy.”
The $7 million modernization of the Spurk Building on NECC’s Haverhill Campus will be used to update classrooms, modernize bathrooms, address air quality issues, modernize the elevator, replace outdated furniture and equipment, and improve student meeting spaces outside of Lecture Hall A, the Top Notch Theater and Jitters Café. Built in 1971, Spurk Building is one of the most heavily used buildings on the Haverhill Campus featuring classrooms, faculty offices, a lecture hall, and a performing arts space.
“This is terrific news for our students and faculty who will have the benefit of teaching and learning in a first-class space,” said NECC President Lane Glenn.
Awarded to the City of Lawrence, the $900,000 MassWorks award will create a connection between Northern Essex’s Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health and Technology Center, which is scheduled to open in January, and the downtown area.
The infrastructure improvements will include the renovation of the Essex Street Connection and additional alley ways that provide critical passages throughout the downtown and are used on a regular basis by NECC students and faculty. The grant will also support economic development surrounding the growing urban campus in downtown Lawrence, which is identified as a Priority Development Area in the Merrimack Valley Regional Plan.
“Northern Essex Community College is proud of our partnership with the City of Lawrence, excited about expanding our campus and educational opportunities, and grateful to be a part of a growing and vibrant downtown,” said Glenn.
In addition to funding for Northern Essex, the governor also announced $20 million to update UMass Lowell’s Perry Hall, which houses the college’s engineering program, and $5 million for a downtown boardwalk in Haverhill.
After learning the good news, President Glenn thanked the college’s legislators and the Governor for supporting higher education and Northern Essex. “It’s exciting that our legislators and the governor recognize Northern Essex’s role in economic development, and we are deeply grateful to them for their continued support.”
Thursday’s announcement is part of a series of events the governor is holding throughout the fall to demonstrate the types of investments his administration is making in every region of the Commonwealth to expand growth and opportunity to all of our residents.