by Kim Wall
The University of New Hampshire’s Manchester campus will have a new home in March as a result of its partnership with DEKA on a building trade that will allow UNH to expand and respond to area business needs. The University of New Hampshire’s strategic mill yard move will bolster Manchester’s “college town” reputation and pave the way for sustained job growth. The move is part of the forward-looking transformation the college is undertaking for students interested in experiential learning through internships, research and community engagement. The University System of New Hampshire board of trustees, with the full support of the UNH administration, voted unanimously to support the sale of UNH’s current building at 400 Commercial Street to DEKA in exchange for a long-term lease with the option to buy the Pandora building at the corner of Commercial and Granite streets. UNH is currently using a floor and a half of the Pandora building and is finalizing the long-term lease and sale arrangements with DEKA. “This is a rare opportunity for the university, for DEKA, and for the city of Manchester,” said UNH President Mark Huddleston. “It signals the university’s commitment to its role in Manchester and to Merrimack Valley area businesses who count on work-ready UNH graduates and the expansion will allow us to grow and develop new programs to meet their needs. This partnership benefits everyone.” The move will consolidate the college into one location and provide an additional 17,000 square feet. The expanded space will allow the college to launch new programs while also redesigning and expanding current programs with a focus on developing local talent based on market needs. The new location will include a robust student commons for collaborative learning as well as greatly expanded technology labs and five biology labs. Dean Kamen, founder and CEO of DEKA, sees the expansion of UNH in Manchester as a win for the region and workforce development. “I am excited the Pandora Mill will become the new home of the university’s campus in Manchester,” Kamen said. “UNH’s focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related programs is crucial to address workforce demands for companies such as DEKA.” Expanded degree programs for fall 2014 include Computer Science & Entrepreneurship and English Teaching as well as tracks in Accounting, Professional Writing and Entrepreneurship. New programs will focus in the areas of Engineering, Analytics, Accounting and Forensics. “The college is working to develop exciting new academic offerings to complement our successful programs in science, technology, and business,” said Interim Dean J. Michael Hickey. “These majors, coupled with our social science and humanities programs, will make a significant contribution to the region’s economy and quality of life. Just as the Pandora building represents the past economic vitality of the Greater Manchester region, our new UNH Manchester campus will be a force for the future of economic growth and social well being of the city.” Over the next four years, the college expects to grow its student base by an additional 200, which will bring the population close to 1,000. In addition to more space for academic programs, students will be able to enjoy a new common area between classes. “Pandora will offer more welcoming spaces, so our students, who are largely commuters, will have a comfortable place to study, participate in social activities and eat before and after their classes,” Hickey said.
The public is invited to a ground breaking ceremony Thursday, September 4, at 5:00 p.m. at 88 Commercial Street in Manchester. Please RSVP to attend by August 29. UNH Manchester was established in 1985 as the sixth college of the University of New Hampshire and a school designed to serve the needs of working men and women in southern New Hampshire. Request more information today.
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