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Science Center Site Selected

Staff Reports

This parking lot on Blackinton Street is expected to be the site of the new MCLA science center.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will hold a groundbreaking ceremony  site dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 26, for the new science center.


(We got a our ceremonies mixed up; there will be a groundbreaking at a later date.)

The $54 million project will be located at what's now a dirt parking lot near the Student Wellness Center on Blackinton St. The MCLA Beacon reported last week that surveying of the site had begun and the soil was being tested before an official announcement is made.

The Center for Science and Innovation will be the first major construction since the townhouse dormitories were built nearly three decades ago. In the last decade, the college has renovated Murdock Hall and added a new front entrance and lobby to the tower dormitories.

The science center is a long time coming. It's been a priority of President Mary Grant and will be a strong symbol of the college's committment to STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Several sites around the densely populated campus have been suggested as possible locations, the most obvious being what's called Taconic Lawn, an open area off the Quad between Bowman Hall and the Amsler Campus Center and the Boardman Apartments across the street from Bowman.

James Stakenas, vice president of administration and finance, told the Beacon that mockups had been made for nine likely locations and student input had been taken into account. The unpaved parking lot is the lead site.

Students would lose 80 parking spaces; the college plans to purchase and partially demolish a warehouse on Ashland Street to create 65 more spaces.


Tags: science center      

MCLA, Public Safety Team Up For Safety

Staff Reports

What are those kids doing in your yard? Don't panic, they may just be trying to tell you about ways to stay safe.

Students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Public Safety, the city and Develop North Adams are partnering this Saturday, Oct. 9, to coordinate a neighborhood walk to promote and inform residents about general neighborhood and public safety. The activity is part of MCLA's 2010 Fall Community Day of Service.

From about 9 to noon, MCLA student volunteers, police and firefighters will be handing out some basic informational neighborhood safety sheets to North Adams residents. They will be in the neighborhood around the Alcombright Field to take advantage of the families attending the youth soccer leagues games and will try to visit other parts of Greylock and Blackinton.

The trolley will pick up the 23 students on campus and bring them to police and fire station. They will get a tour of the facility and a pep talk, receive the informational materials and then head out to hand out the public safety information.

Tags: safety, community service      

Hello, Mayors!

Tammy Daniels

DCR Commissioner Rick Sullivan, second from left, lunches with members of the Massachusetts Mayors Association at Gramercy Bistro on Wednesday.

Nineteen of the state's 46 mayors spent the morning at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art on Wednesday. This is believed to be the first time that the Massachusetts Mayors Association has held one of its monthly meetings in the state's smallest and farthest-west city.

The mayors, weighed down by a Wilco bag full of goodies, were given an overview of the city by their host Mayor Richard Alcombright, MoCA Director Joseph Thompson and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts President Mary Grant.

"You're kind of rated on the weight, [Pittsfield Mayor] Jim Ruberto told me this morning, of the gift bag," said Alcombright to his guests. "I think the weight of the gift bag is substantial, and I also think the things you will find in there are substantial, too. I'm really trying to make a great impression."

MMA President Robert Dolan, mayor of Melrose, and Mayor Richard Alcombright. Alcombright invited the association to hold its monthly meeting in North Adams,  for the first time anyone can recall.

But no prizes for who traveled farthest, he said, because "the mayor of Beverly didn't give me a gift when I drove the farthest last month."

This the second time the association has met in the Berkshires this year; their annual meeting was held a couple months ago at Cranwell Resort in Lenox.

"It's a wonderful respite for all of us in eastern massachusets to get out here and see the beauty of this area and see all the exciting things that are happening, particularly in North Adams," said Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan, president of the association.

All joking aside (including a shot from Alcombright that he could offer Wilco Solid Sound Festival tickets at "face value" that evoked a roar of laughter from the mayors), the meeting was an informal affair for Alcombright to introduce his city to his peers and for the elected officials to talk legislative strategy.

The main speaker was Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr., a former Westfield mayor, who touched on the challenges and priorities of the DCR and answered specific questions on how his department can work with local officials on everything from dams to skating rinks to forest use.

Gov. Deval Patrick had stressed to him that the best decisions in governement are made at the local level, he said, but Sullivan felt they are really made at the citizen level.

"They're made at your level, they're made at the citizen level and one thing that I've tried to bring to this job is a true working relationshiop with the cities and towns because I do think you know your communities best," he said. "You know what's best for your constituents. I have worked very closely, very personally with everyone in this room."

Also attending were several representatives from Sen. John Kerry's office, members of the administration and other staff, and representatives from the museum and college.

Sullivan's talk was followed by a closed meeting to discuss legislative updates and strategy. Guests were treated to lunch at Gramercy Bistro on the museum campus and were offered tours of the museum and the city in the afternoon.

The meeting was underwritten by Mass MoCa, MountainOne Financial Partners, Berkshire Bank, the Porches and Greylock Insurance Agency.

Tags: meeting, DCR      
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Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.

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As of 8/9 at 5 p.m.
 Lisa M. Blackmer* Yes
 Michael Bloom Yes
 Keith Bona* Yes
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Shane Gaudreau  
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 Michael Hernandez  Yes
 Jennifer Breen Kirsch  Yes
Brian L. Flagg  
 Kellie A. Morrison  Yes
 Greg Roach  Yes
 Gail Kolis Sellers  Yes
18 candidates returned papers
 Richard J. Alcombright*  Yes
 Ronald A. Boucher  Yes
 Robert Martelle  Yes
 Preliminary election will eliminate one
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 Mary Lou Accetta* Yes
 Lawrence K. Taft* Yes
 Leonard Giroux Jr.  Yes
 Tara J. Jacobs  Yes
 David Lamarre Yes
McCann School Committee  
 George M. Canales Yes

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