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Quincy College lays out plans for slow but steady move to downtown

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 23, 2011 05:09 PM

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Quincy College plans on moving most of its operations to Quincy Center by 2016, new President Peter Tsaffaras told the City Council on Monday.

Currently, the campus is working on moving its nursing facilities to 30,000 square feet of space within Quincy Center by January. However, the long term plans are much more expansive.

According to Tsaffaras, who became president in January, the college is working with the downtown revitalization partner, Street-Works Development LLC, to either refurbish or renovate space in downtown that would allow the majority of the Quincy College campus to move to the center of the city.

It’s a move prompted by rapid growth in the university, the president said. In the last five years alone, the campus has grown 24 percent in Quincy, and 62 percent at the Plymouth campus.

Last fall, the college had a total of 4,500 students, and the campus has increased faculty by 10 percent every year.

With an annual budget close to $25.5 million, the college hopes the long-term move will help accommodate current needs and set up the campus up for future growth.

“The lease that we’re entering into now for the 30,000 [square feet] would not accommodate any long-term growth, it would just take into consideration our existing needs,” Tsaffaras said. “When we move downtown, that would accommodate growth over the next five years as well as additional expansion.”

Currently, Quincy College is spread over three campuses in the city: at Saville Avenue and on Temple Street, both downtown, and at 150 Newport Avenue in North Quincy.

In the next couple of months, the college plans to close its 13,000-square-foot Temple Street location in favor of the 30,000-square-foot space at Quincy Center. It will lease the building until the larger Quincy Center project is complete, at which time they would also close their North Quincy location.

The college would keep the Saville Avenue location to serve as a science center, as the college recently built a state-of-the-art science facility there and wouldn’t want to duplicate the cost elsewhere.

In addition, the university would continue to operate its Plymouth location.

All in all, the move to Quincy Center has become an important milestone for the college in the last few months.

“[We] strongly believe that our history and success is entertained with the city, and we wish to be downtown and be a vibrant part of the downtown. It makes sense for us to be here,” Tsaffaras said. “Its accessible, it’s a good economic leverage for the downtown, and it speaks of our presence in the city, where we have historically been.”

Councilors were excited about the idea of bringing the college back into the city center, especially as the city embarks on updating, expanding, and renovating the entire downtown.

For Quincy College to be a part of that $1.6 billion transformation seemed fitting, Councilor Douglas Gutro said.

“You’re stable, growing, and moving in a positive direction. We’d like to get you to the place you need to be,” he said.

Councilor Margaret Laforest also commented that initiating the move to Quincy Center now would be a good first step.

Tsaffaras said that the college might be back to the council to lease additional space before the 2016 date. According to the rules of the city, Quincy College may not enter into a lease exceeding five years without the council’s consent.

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