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Framingham State will forgo modernizing interior classrooms of Hemenway Hall classrooms to balance project budget

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  January 29, 2013 11:00 AM

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Framingham State University will eliminate some infrastructure improvements planned for the Hemenway Hall academic building renovation in light of the project's increased cost from rising construction prices around the state, university officials said.

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

Earlier this month, officials said they might have to scale back parts of the $64 million project after rising construction costs led the state to drive up the project estimate by $10 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 email.

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

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

The Hemenway Hall project comes after the university opened the brand-new North Hall in fall 2011. The state-of-the-art, $48 million dormitory houses 412 upperclassmen on campus.

University officials also began limiting the annual increase in its overall undergraduate enrollment to 2 percent this past September after experiencing surging enrollment. The school also hopes to build a new $42 million, 350-bed dormitory by 2015 to help deal with growing demand for on-campus housing.

University officials also said the new laboratory wing is essential: Framingham State's enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs has spiked in the past five years. There are now 69 percent more math majors, 37 percent more biology students, and 32 percent more computer science majors, university president Tim Flanagan told the Globe recently.

"We have labs on campus right now, but they pale in comparison to these new labs," Magazu previously said. "These will have the latest technology that students in a variety of different departments will be able to use."

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

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