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Framingham

University stems renovations plans

Framingham State University will eliminate some infrastructure improvements that had been planned for Hemenway Hall in response to rising construction costs, university officials said.

The university will forgo modernizing the interiors of classrooms and laboratories in the academic building, deferring the work until funding becomes available, said Dan Magazu, a Framingham State spokesman.

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Last month, officials said they might have to scale back parts of the renovation project after rising construction costs, seen across the state, drove up the estimated cost by $10 million, to $64 million.

“As we anticipated, some of the planned infrastructure improvements to the original building have been eliminated from the scope of the work to balance the project budget,” Magazu said in an e-mail.

The main parts of the Hemenway Hall project, which received approval for $54 million in state funding in 2010, will still move forward, including construction of a new science wing with 16 laboratories equipped with cutting-edge technology by 2014, as well as an update of the building’s windows and heating and ventilation systems, Magazu said.

Construction on the new wing is slated to begin in April.

The Hemenway Hall project comes after the university opened a new dormitory, North Hall, in the fall of 2011. The state-of-the-art, $48 million facility provides housing for 412 upperclassmen on the school’s Framingham Centre campus. 

Framingham State officials also began limiting the annual increase in its overall undergraduate enrollment to 2 percent as of September, after experiencing a surge in growth. The school also hopes to build a $42 million, 350-bed dormitory by 2015 to help deal with growing demand for campus housing.

University officials said the new Hemenway laboratory wing is essential, noting that Framingham State’s enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs has spiked in the past five years. There are 69 percent more math majors, 37 percent more biology students, and 32 percent more computer science majors, according to university president Tim Flanagan.

“We have labs on campus right now, but they pale in comparison to these new labs,” Magazu said.

“These will have the latest technology that students in a variety of different departments will be able to use.”

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com.
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