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Healey-Driscoll Administration Issues RFP for Northern Essex Community College Redevelopment Project

Submitted by on May 13, 2024 – 6:37 pm

HAVERHILL, Mass. – Today, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and Northern Essex Community College (NECC) released a Request for Proposals(RFP) for a long-term ground lease and redevelopment that will modernize the health and wellness facilities on NECC’s Haverhill Campus and enhance connections with the surrounding community. DCAMM and NECC envision a redevelopment that will address deferred maintenance, contribute to campus decarbonization, foster neighborhood relationships, and boost recruitment and retention by enabling vibrant athletic programming.

Given both recent demand for public community college in Massachusetts—driven in part by the Healey-Driscoll administration’s MassReconnect program for students aged 25 and over—and the significant deferred maintenance needs of these colleges, this project presents an opportunity to equip a vital institution to thrive. This redevelopment will enable NECC’s title-winning athletic programs to grow, adjust, and expand its offerings, and for NECC to extend benefits—such as publicly accessible greenspace, field time for city and local youth leagues, healthy and sustainable food options, and affordable childcare—to the Haverhill and Merrimack Valley communities.

“Bolstering our public higher education institutions not only benefits students—it also supports the strong workforce that Massachusetts employers need to thrive,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Matthew J. Gorzkowicz. “This redevelopment will create exciting opportunities both on the NECC campus and for the broader Massachusetts economy.”

“This redevelopment will provide multifaceted benefits for NECC—from reducing carbon emissions to supporting students’ physical and mental health—while cost-effectively improving the Commonwealth’s capital assets on the campus and strengthening the community,” said DCAMM Commissioner Adam Baacke. “DCAMM is pleased to collaborate with and support NECC’s innovative vision and entrepreneurial approach to addressing campus needs.”

“I am looking forward to seeing the impact this redevelopment project will have on Northern Essex Community College, enabling students, educators, and the wider community to spend time in newer, greener, and more sustainable learning and recreational environments,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler.

“This RFP brings NECC closer to having health and wellness facilities that meet the needs of students while benefitting the surrounding community,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega. “I’m grateful to my colleagues in the administration and at NECC who are working hard to bring this much-needed redevelopment to fruition.”

“Vibrant health and wellness programming is not only beneficial to our students and essential to retention and recruiting, but also serves as a connection directly to the community,” said Northern Essex President Lane Glenn. “This redevelopment project will position us to modernize our athletic, health and wellness offerings and meet the changing needs of our community head-on.”

“We envision this project will further our mission of removing barriers to higher education. Our local youth will grow up visiting our beautiful campus and see NECC as the natural next step in their educational journey,” said Northern Essex CFO Michael McCarthy. “Our current facility was built in 1971, and we have more than $9 million in deferred maintenance needs. We’re eager to see the results of the RFP process and grateful for this partnership with DCAMM.”

The RFP released today invites proposals for a long-term ground lease and redevelopment of up to ±16 acres, including the approximately 44,800 square-foot Sports and Fitness Center (Building D), parking area, a baseball field, a softball field, and an asphalt track.

Ahead of the August 30, 2024, deadline to submit proposals, DCAMM is holding a site tour on June 26, 2024, from 9:30 to 11:00 AM and a bidders’ conference on July 10, 2024, from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. To register for the site tour or the bidders’ conference, interested parties can email More information will also be available on DCAMM’s website.

The proposal requirements outlined in the RFP include developer information and a plan describing the design concept for the site. In alignment with DCAMM and NECC’s commitment to providing opportunities for historically underrepresented businesses and individuals, proposals are required to include a plan addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) objectives throughout the project. Additionally, as outlined in the RFP, NECC and DCAMM will give preference to redevelopment proposals resulting in reduced carbon emissions and improvements towards other environmental impacts.

This RFP was informed by extensive planning and engagement (including DCAMM and NECC issuing a Request for Information and holding a public hearing in 2023). While complementary and mutually reflective of NECC’s creativity and collaborative approach, this project is not directly related to the recently announced potential partnership between Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and NECC.

Potential proponents are encouraged to review the RFP for more information about this dynamic opportunity to support a robust Gateway City community college’s mission through redevelopment.

The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance works with state agencies to create and manage forward-thinking, sustainable buildings to meet the needs of the citizens they serve. DCAMM oversees the Commonwealth’s capital assets, totaling over 65 million square feet and including all state buildings except authority, county, municipally owned, or other non-state buildings occupied by state agencies. DCAMM partners with fellow agencies to help them meet their strategic needs with fiscally responsible building and real estate solutions and supports the growth of the Commonwealth’s economy by actively engaging with private sector partners to make it easier to do business with the Commonwealth.

About NECC
Northern Essex Community College, the first Federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution in New England, is an education leader for the Merrimack Valley. Through a supportive learning environment and cultural inclusion, NECC embraces all identities and inspires initiative and excellence through top-notch affordable certificate and associate degree programs online and at campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence. NECC offers many bachelor’s degree transfer options, workforce development, and community education classes, and is host to the NECC Police Academy, MassHire Merrimack Valley, and Gallaudet University’s Regional Center for the deaf and hard of hearing.