Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser, and Commissioner of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) Carol Gladstone visited Salem State University on Wednesday with an announcement that the university will receive $30 million for its transformational building project, called SSU BOLD: A Campus Unification and Modernization Project (SSU BOLD). The news was part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s announcement of more than $150 million of investments in public colleges and universities to renovate and expand campus facilities.
“The capital investments we are announcing today will help our public colleges and universities better educate and train the workforce of tomorrow,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The overarching goal of these investments is to modernize campus facilities to support STEM instruction, ensuring students graduate from college with skills to be ready to compete in high-demand fields.”
“These capital projects at our state colleges and universities will help to further expand capacity in the STEM workforce and grow enrollment at these institutions” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are glad to support these projects and invest in our public institutions of higher education.”
“I could not be more grateful to Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and their administration for their significant commitment to improving Salem State’s infrastructure, and welcoming them back to campus for this historic announcement was a true privilege,” said President John D. Keenan. “I also want to thank the countless members of the Salem State community whose support was crucial to us reaching this monumental step, including our Board of Trustees; our alumni and elected officials Senator Joan Lovely, Representative Paul Tucker, and Mayor Kim Driscoll; our alumni and friends; and our faculty and staff. I look forward to the continued collaborations ahead as we start the work of bringing SSU BOLD to fruition, which will truly transform Salem State and the opportunities we offer students.”
SSU BOLD includes the sale of South Campus; the renovation of the now-vacant Horace Mann Building to house South Campus programming, including new nursing SIM and occupational therapy (OT) labs; and constructing a state-of-the-art addition to Meier Hall to house seven much needed, modernized high-intensity teaching labs. South Campus currently houses Salem State’s criminal justice, healthcare studies, nursing and occupational therapy programs.
Salem State’s 2013 Campus Master Vision identified the need for modern science labs as a top capital priority and proposed that the university divest from South Campus. Subsequent planning studies confirmed and further explored these needs.
“As a campus that values multidisciplinary collaboration and experiences, the ability to more easily collaborate, meet and socialize with our fellow Vikings currently teaching and learning on South Campus will enrich the entire Salem State experience,” said Provost David Silva. “Students will no longer have to plan around the physical distance between campuses when scheduling their classes, and they will be closer to the many opportunities located in the heart of our campus, including previous investments made by the Commonwealth like the Recital Hall, the Sophia Gordon Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, and the Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons.”
SSU BOLD aligns with the high-skilled workforce needs of the healthcare and life science sectors of the North Shore region, providing the experiences required to support workforce demands. The Meier Hall laboratory addition and the renovated nursing SIM and occupational therapy (OT) laboratories will increase Salem State’s ability to provide students with academic and technical preparation that is directly comparable to the laboratory environments where they are likely to work, while also permitting the expansion of graduate-level offerings in these areas and the opportunity to grow external partnerships. In addition to increasing capacity in the sciences, the Meier Hall addition’s flexible design will allow for multiple programmatic uses, student and faculty research, and alternative delivery methods.
SSU BOLD is predicted to increase enrollment and retention and allow for greater operational efficiencies. Upon completion, the project will save the university over $56 million in deferred maintenance through the renovation of the Horace Mann building and divestment from South Campus buildings in need of significant upgrades.
The funding announcement sets in motion the process of Salem State realizing SSU BOLD. The university plans to engage its campus community in the planning and design phases soon to begin.
“We are embarking on an exciting moment in Salem State’s history,” said Keenan. “SSU BOLD allows us to truly position our campus for the future, benefitting students and the region for generations to come.”