UMass to open satellite center in SpringfieldAP , Associated Press
Nov. 26, 2013 1:31 PM ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The University of Massachusetts plans to establish a permanent presence in Springfield by opening the school's first satellite center in the state's third-largest city next fall.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Gov. Deval Patrick, who called it a "great day" for the city and the UMass system. Patrick, who has long advocated for such a facility in Springfield, was joined by other officials including Mayor Domenic Sarno and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
The satellite center would be situated in 27,000 square feet of space on the second floor of Tower Square office building in downtown Springfield, about 25 miles from the university's flagship campus in Amherst. The school has an option to lease an additional 1,600 square feet of space on the first floor of the building, which is owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.
"We are pleased to find suitable space that will allow the University to expand its presence and provide residents of the city and region with the type of high quality, affordable public higher education option that has come to define a UMass degree," university president Robert Caret said in a statement.
The center would offer an "affordable public higher education option" for residents of the Springfield area, Caret added.
Amherst will serve as the lead campus for the satellite center, the first of its kind in the UMass system, but programs will also be offered by the university's other campuses, which include Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester, officials said.
The center is slated for operation by the fall of 2014.
The university has participated over the years in various programs in the city, including a research partnership between UMass Amherst and the Baystate Medical Center, but Patrick and city officials have been pushing for a more permanent academic presence.
A university-owned public radio network also plans to move its studios from Amherst to Springfield, and UMassOnline will have office space in the Tower Square building.