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Framingham colleges land aid for life-sciences offerings

Two higher education institutions in Framingham were awarded state grants this week to help boost their science and math programs.

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded $3 million to Framingham State University, and $50,000 to Massachusetts Bay Community College’s Framingham campus.

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Framingham State will use the grant to renovate and add biology and chemistry labs in Hemenway Hall, the largest academic building on campus. The school will also use the funds to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, and upgrade the facility’s infrastructure, according to college officials.

“We know that Massachusetts companies are in need of highly educated science and math graduates,” said the university’s interim president, Robert Martin, in a statement. “The Hemenway Hall expansion and renovation project will have a transformative impact on the university’s STEM programs by providing our students and faculty with access to state-of-the-art science classrooms and laboratories.”

MassBay officials said they will use their $50,000 grant to help develop a science center as part of the new campus that is in the works for downtown Framingham. The community college’s expansion project is in the design phase, and will use $22.1 million in state capital-improvement funds, according to state officials.

John O’Donnell, MassBay’s president, said in a statement on the life-sciences grant that he appreciates the boost.

“Establishing this center on a brand new MassBay campus will enable us to expand life- sciences partnerships and establish solid pipelines from high school to college to the workforce,” O’Donnell said.

Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over a decade in the growth of life sciences education and industry across the state, according to officials, who said the Life Sciences Center has already awarded more than $330 million to support related capital projects.

“Supporting innovation propels our economy forward and prepares our workers for the 21st-century global marketplace,” said Governor Deval Patrick in a statement on the latest awards. “Our innovation economy relies on a well-educated, well-skilled workforce, and these grants will expand opportunity and grow jobs in the MetroWest region.”

Three area high schools were also awarded state funds for life-sciences equipment and supplies in a round of grants announced in December. Waltham High School and Franklin’s Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High each received $100,000, and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough was given $40,000, officials said.

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