PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On Tuesday officials with the Berkshire Innovation Center and Mayor Linda Tyer joined state and other local officials at the BIC construction site for a topping off ceremony to recognize the significant progress made so far on construction of the 22,500 square-foot facility.
The brief ceremony included the installation of the final steel beam in the infrastructure of the building. The beam was signed by key stakeholders and partners of the project.
"The signing of the final beam symbolizes the very real progress that has been achieved with the construction of the Berkshire Innovation Center at the William Stanley Business Park. Each milestone brings us closer to a promising future that will include the Innovation Center as part of the landscape for advanced manufacturing research and development in the City of Pittsfield," Tyer said.
"I am exceedingly grateful to the Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for their unwavering commitment. A special thank you to the Berkshire Innovation Center Board and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority for its continuous support as well. The collaborative efforts of so many ensures that powerful innovation will continue to happen right here in Pittsfield."
The BIC will provide advanced capabilities to manufacturers in the Berkshires, primarily small and medium-sized companies in life sciences, the life sciences supply chain, advanced manufacturing, and technology. The BIC will include training facilities, biotech wet lab space, a product development lab, office and event space for small to medium-sized life sciences companies to support economic growth, jobs, and private investment in the region.
"The Berkshire Innovation Center is already putting the region on the map and injecting a sense of economic optimism as this building is erected,” said state Sen. Adam G. Hinds.
"Today's 'topping off' ceremony epitomizes years of work by many stakeholders," said state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier. "The center will be fertile ground to the seeds of collaboration and innovative that are the hallmark of the Berkshires."
The Baker-Polito Administration has committed nearly $12.5 million towards the project through a $12 million allocation from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and the approval of $450,000 from MassDevelopment. This funding leverages an additional $1 million commitment from the City of Pittsfield and $300,000 from the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.
"As progress continues on the construction of the BIC site, we move that much closer to unlocking new potential for Western Massachusetts to leverage dynamic programming and innovative infrastructure," said MLSC President and CEO Travis McCready. "This innovation hub for the Berkshires exemplifies our regional approach to the growth and development of the life sciences throughout Massachusetts."
Ground was broken on the life sciences innovation hub in the Berkshires in September 2018. Gov.Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined state and local officials to break ground on the BIC and celebrate its potential to catalyze and accelerate innovation and growth of new and existing companies that will spur economic growth, job creation, retention, and investment in Western Massachusetts.
In October 2018, the BIC announced the appointment of Scott Longley as its first executive director. Longley brings more than 25 years of private sector experience working with companies like Apple, HP and Sun Microsystems. In addition, he has a broad background in the venture capital and start-up area. Mr. Longley has hit the ground running since taking on his role as executive director, traveling extensively around Berkshire County, meeting with BIC members, local elected officials, as well as, local academic institutions.
"This state-of-the-art facility is well positioned to change the landscape for advanced manufacturing research and development, increasing the pipeline of highly trained employees," Longley said. "I am thrilled to join this dynamic team and look forward to being part of the collaborative effort to move the Center forward."
In November 2018, the BIC relaunched a speaker series in partnership with Berkshire Community College. The first speaker in the series, Andy Routsis, a well-known plastics industry expert, spoke to a room full of local plastic manufacturers on what it takes to train and retain a highly skilled plastics workforce in today’s hyper-competitive market. Following the presentation, BCC officials provided information on a potential application for a Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Consortium Grant as a means to fund the Routsis Training and other needed skills. Future BIC and BCC programming and training in the areas of life sciences, healthcare, software and technology, and entrepreneurship are currently being researched and discussed.
The BIC will bring advanced capabilities to its member companies including shared access to cutting-edge research and development, prototyping equipment, customized training programs, student internship programs and collaborative opportunities with the BIC’s research and education partners.
The ceremony also included the placement of an evergreen tree on the top of the building's infrastructure. Consigli Construction Co., Inc. is leading the construction of the custom Berkshire Innovation Center facility. A ribbon cutting for the BIC is expected to take place in fall 2019.
The BIC launched as a non-profit in 2014 with the goal of helping enable growth and innovation in existing companies in Berkshire County. The BIC will help local small to medium sized manufacturers improve or expand their current situation by providing access to training, capital equipment and technology and promoting collaborative alliances with local business, government, and academia.
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