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The new UNH Manchester building. Courtesy photo.




UNH Manchester on the move
DEKA purchases old building as UNH expands campus

01/15/15



Another building on Manchester’s tax rolls, a new hub for tech education, more young talent for local companies to hire -- those are the kinds of impacts that UNH Manchester’s impending move will have on the community, city and school officials say. 

While students are off on spring break during the week of March 16, the University of New Hampshire Manchester will be moving just down the street from its current location at 400 Commercial St. That property was purchased by DEKA Research and Development Corporation for $3.14 million. UNH will lease the Pandora building at 88 Commercial St. for $2 million a year with an option to purchase from DEKA President Dean Kamen, according to Kim Wall, UNH director of marketing and communications. Wall said DEKA will be renovating the 400 Commercial St. property and expanding its outfit.
Kamen called the move a “win-win for everyone.”
“The university becomes a bigger part of the largest city and tech community in the state,” Kamen wrote in an email to the Hippo. “Local companies are going to have much better access to the new and young talent being developed right here in New Hampshire. And the whole community will benefit by having a more vibrant and diverse population who will continue to expand in our area.”
Interim Dean Mike Hickey said the move will mean a larger, “more welcoming” campus, which has been designed by faculty, staff and students in collaboration with architects.
Wall said the new space will increase the university’s footprint by 44 percent, and the goal is to increase the population of the school by 1,000 students by 2018, representing a 28 percent increase.
After 2018, Hickey said, the school expects to expand by another 250 students when the sixth floor opens.
“Beyond the bricks and mortar, we have been focused on the redesign of existing academic programs and the introduction of new programs such as biotechnology and analytics majors for the fall of 2015,” Hickey said.
“There are so many businesses in the area who need more skilled employees, especially in the areas of science and technology,” Wall said.
The first five floors of the Pandora building are currently under construction.
The north side will host an expansive academic commons, with library services, the first year experience and English Speakers of Other Languages. Additionally, there will be a center for academic enrichment, where the tutoring program will be based, Hickey said. He said the commons will be an open space, all focused toward academic support.
On the south side will be a student commons with seating, UNH dining services and a multipurpose room for student and community use.
“It will be a public space we haven’t been able to offer in our current location,” Hickey said.
The second floor will boast a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) discovery lab, three classrooms and a dedicated faculty space designed for public use by K-12 students and teachers.
“We envision it as a hub for STEM education for the Merrimack Valley and beyond,” Hickey said. “We’ve infused technology throughout the building that will rival [buildings] like the Paul College in Durham, relative to interconnectivity.”
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas said the move is all positive.
“I think its great for the City of Manchester and the University of New Hampshire,” Gatsas said in a phone interview. “Certainly when you can get a college downtown in your community it’s a great a thing.”
Gatsas said that in its current location, UNH Manchester does not pay taxes, but it will in the new building, and DEKA will pay taxes on its new purchase.
“Now we’ve got both buildings on the tax rolls,” Gatsas said.
 
As seen in the January 15, 2015 issue.





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