New England News
3:55 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

UMass Satellite Campus Desired In Springfield

The University of Massachusetts is looking at the feasibility of
establishing satellite campuses. The mayor of Springfield wants a
satellite of the flagship Amherst campus located in his city's downtown.
WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno publically lobbied Monday for
what he called a quicker pace to the four year old Springfield-UMass
partnership.

        The mayor's call for the state's public university system to
create a satellite campus in the state's third largest city was made at
a meeting of roughly 100 Springfield business and civic leaders and top
UMass officials, including the president of the five campus system, the
Amherst chancellor-elect, and three university trustees. 

        None of the UMass officials would publically commit to a
satellite campus in Springfield. University President Robert Caret said
a feasibility study of satellite campuses is currently being done by the
university's Donahue Institute.

        Caret said depending on the outcome of the feasibility study,
one or two satellite campuses could be established initially, with the
locations determined by a bidding process.

        The out-going UMass Amherst Chancellor Robert Holub had quietly
commissioned a study into the possibility of putting a medical school in
Springfield. That move, made without the knowledge of then university
president Jack Wilson, was reportedly one of the factors in the decision
not to renew Holub's contract.

        Kumble Subbaswamy, who will become the Amherst chancellor on
July 1st pledged Monday to continue the Springfield-Umass Partnership.
He said his focus would be on quality of outcomes and not quantity .

        Since the partnership was formally established by an agreement
signed by Sarno and Holub, UMass opened an urban design institute in a
vacant storefront in downtown Springfield. The university took charge of
a small business incubator located at Springfield Technical Community
College. It established a program for training workers for jobs in
precision manufacturing. The university also has  several educational
programs tied in with the Springfield Public Schools and it has
sponsored cultural events in Springfield.

        UMass Amherst partnered with BayState Medical Center several
years ago to create a life sciences research center in Springfield.

        Alan Blair, president of the Western Massachusetts Economic
Development Council believes UMass can be a catalyst for job creation
beyond its campus borders.

        The high performance computing center that is being built in
Holyoke is a collaboration among several research universities,
including UMass. It is expected to be a magnet for technology companies.

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