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Gov. Deval Patrick unveils $3.8 million grant for Holyoke Community College life sciences

  • Governor Deval Patrick shakes hands with Enver Kaaon of Ludlow after making an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Governor Deval Patrick shakes hands with Enver Kaaon of Ludlow after making an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Governor Deval Patrick makes an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013.  Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner, Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson and Dean of School of Engineering Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College Dr. Adrienne Smith listen, at right.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Governor Deval Patrick makes an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner, Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson and Dean of School of Engineering Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College Dr. Adrienne Smith listen, at right.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Vocational Director of William J. Dean Technical High School James Caradonio, right, listens to Governor Deval Patrick make an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. A large crowd showed up for the event.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Vocational Director of William J. Dean Technical High School James Caradonio, right, listens to Governor Deval Patrick make an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. A large crowd showed up for the event.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Governor Deval Patrick shakes hands with Enver Kaaon of Ludlow after making an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. <br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Governor Deval Patrick makes an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013.  Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner, Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson and Dean of School of Engineering Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College Dr. Adrienne Smith listen, at right.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Vocational Director of William J. Dean Technical High School James Caradonio, right, listens to Governor Deval Patrick make an announcement about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. A large crowd showed up for the event.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Governor Deval Patrick, left, claps in response to Holyoke Community College President Bill Messner's speech about a large grant award for Holyoke Community College at the Leslie Phillips Theater on campus on Thursday, February 28, 2013. Mayor of Holyoke Alex Morse, second from left, CEO and President of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Susan Windham-Bannister, Executive Director of MGHPCC John Goodhue, Assistant Professor of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Dr. Manuel Garver, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baypath Dr. Melissa Morris-Olson join Patrick in applause.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

The $3.8 million HCC is receiving will be used to create a training-and-research center for the life sciences. Among the grants Patrick announced was one for Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. Smith Voke, the only Hampshire County school among the five high schools to receive grants, is in line for $100,000 for equipment and supplies for life sciences education.

Growth of Massachusetts’ life sciences industry has been a goal of Patrick’s since his first term. In 2008, he spearheaded the creation of a $1 billion bond to invest in life science education and industry support. The bond is administered by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

The life science center at HCC will be an unusual resource for a community college campus in Massachusetts, said Susan Windham-Bannister, president of the quasi-public Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which funds the $9 million in grants. It will also probably be the only community college in the state to have a “clean room,” a sterile research environment where extreme measures are taken to make sure no germs get in or out.

Work likely won’t start on the life science center until 2015, said Chris Yurko, a spokesman for HCC, but planning and design will commence sooner.

“HCC may be the only one in the state. It’s really exciting,” Windham-Bannister said of the life science center. “Life sciences” is an umbrella term for the many branches of living organism studies, such as biomedicine, neuroscience and cell biology.

“Our hope is that not only will HCC be training students who will have the expertise to go into the work force, but also that other schools that don’t have what HCC has will be interested in collaborating, or industries will have an interest in collaborating with them,” she said. “I think this will be a focal point for the region.”

HCC thrilled

“This will allow us to do a better job of carrying through on our mission — and it’s a simple one and a critical one — our mission of access and our mission of providing opportunity,” said HCC President William Messner. Turning from the podium to face Patrick, he added, “We won’t let you down.”

More than 300 HCC students, faculty, staff and members of the state’s science and business communities attended the announcement Thursday, where Patrick also announced $4.5 million for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke to extend its calculating capabilities to include biological data.

Bay Path College in Longmeadow will get $2 million to support student retention and a curriculum redesign. Springfield Technical Community College is getting $150,000 to update its labs.

The goal of the spending is to create jobs and attract new life science businesses to the state, making Massachusetts the destination for this kind of research, development and manufacturing. Part of the governor’s plan to attract life science businesses is to create a skilled work force.

So far, the bond hasn’t created as many jobs as anticipated, but part of this can be blamed on the Great Recession, according to an analysis of the bond’s effectiveness by the Boston Globe last summer. The money, which will be spent over 10 years, has help draw about 24 new company sites to the state and about $189 million has been committed to projects that such as building research and biomanufacturing facilities at UMass.

Patrick said the investment in life sciences is akin to sacrifices past generations made to build vital infrastructure including the Massachusetts Turnpike, railroads and public universities.

“When it comes to the really important things, we shape our future. We don’t leave it to chance,” Patrick said. “This isn’t an abstract policy. This is about the responsibility to leave the next generation something better.”

Eric Wilson, an HCC environmental science student at Thursday’s announcement, said he’s excited the college will be getting a significant lab upgrade.

“This is an awesome opportunity for the school,” said Wilson, 19, of Agawam. “I was taking a class in the lab last year and we were all saying we need new equipment so it’s kind of perfect this is happening.”

HCC will be renovating 13,000 square feet of space in the Marieb building to host the new life science lab. The clean room will have an airflow system, barrier walls, filters and ionizers. State-of-the-art computers will be in every laboratory. More models of human anatomy and physiology, new lab benches, flow hoods and centrifuges will also be among the improvements to the college’s lab.

But before construction can begin, the college has to do some maneuvering. First the Grynn & Barrett buildings have to be renovated to host the Center for Health Sciences. Once that is complete, the nursing and radiological technology programs will move out of Marieb and into the new space.

Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@gazettenet.com.

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