The University of Massachusetts is looking for a possible location to establish a satellite campus in Springfield. City officials believe it could be another step in efforts to revitalize Springfield’s downtown
The University of Massachusetts has put out a formal request for proposals to lease 25,000 square feet in downtown Springfield for use as classroom and office space with the potential to double the size in the future.
A study ordered by UMass President Robert Caret shortly after he took office two years ago found a demand in Springfield that could be fulfilled by a UMass satellite center. According to a statement from Caret, there is also strong support from the political and business community. The question now is one of feasibility, according to university spokesman Robert Connolly.
Although plans are in the early stages, Connolly said classes at a Springfield site would likely be offered from all five UMass campuses, not just the Amherst flagship, as well as online.
Connolly said no plan has been developed yet on how to pay for the satellite campus.
Jeff Cuiffreda, president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield believes the current commercial real estate market will provide UMass with the space needed at a price the state can afford.
Springfield is currently home to several private colleges and universities, including Western New England University, Springfield College and American International College. Officials say a public university satellite would offer courses in fields of study currently not available in Springfield.
The city of Springfield’s Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy said a UMass satellite campus would bring youth, vibrancy and vitality to the city’s downtown.
UMass Amherst and the city of Springfield have a formal partnership aimed at revitalizing the city’s economy. Faculty and staff from the flagship campus are involved in a number of projects and programs in Springfield.
UMass Amherst has an urban design center in a storefront building in downtown Springfield. The university operates a small business development center at Springfield Technical Community College, and a life sciences research center in a partnership with Baystate Medical Center.