News 2012: UMass Dartmouth marks milestone at the MAB

News 2012: UMass Dartmouth marks milestone at the MAB
UMass Dartmouth marks milestone at the MAB

"Topping off ceremony" ends first stage of biomanufacturing center construction

UMass President Robert L. Caret and UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman will join other local and state leaders next Thursday in Fall River to mark the end of the first stage of construction of the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (the MAB). 

"The University of Massachusetts is excited to be part of the tech-led renewal of southeastern Mass.," said President Caret. "The MAB advances our commitment, not just to the SouthCoast, but to research and scholarship that strengthens the entire state. We are proud to celebrate this milestone and look forward to the day when the MAB begins to change the face of the life sciences sector in this region and the Commonwealth." 

When the 15-foot-long steel beam covered in the signatures of UMass Dartmouth students, staff and faculty is unveiled, seven months will have passed since the May groundbreaking of the 35,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. 

"This is one more important step in a long journey to make UMass Dartmouth the anchor of an expanded life sciences supercluster in Massachusetts," said Chancellor Grossman. "On completion, our world-class researchers and students will have a first-in-the-world facility to create the new therapies and make the new breakthroughs that can revolutionize medical treatment." 

Roughly 120 construction jobs have been created -- just a down payment on the permanent, high-paying jobs created after the MAB's completion next fall, when it will anchor a growing SouthCoast Life Science and Technology Park starting in January 2014.

"Our economic recovery in Massachusetts has been fueled by the Patrick-Murray Administration's investments in innovation, infrastructure and education, and the Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing is a great example of how all three of those focuses can relate together and move Massachusetts forward," said Greg Bialecki, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. "We are home to a world-leading biotechnology hub and as that sector continues to grow the Accelerator will play a significant role in our future success." 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts invested $14.6 million in the project through a capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Science Center. UMass Dartmouth is investing $10 million in capital funds; another $3 million is anticipated from equipment grants and corporate donations. 

"Through the Center's capital program we are funding the development of unique resources that will further strengthen our state's global leadership in the life sciences," said Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "Through our investments we are looking to make all areas of our state, including the SouthCoast, 'life sciences ready.' This world-class facility, unique in the U.S., will be an important new resource for our entire life sciences supercluster, and will support the state's efforts to promote advanced manufacturing across the entire state." 

In addition, the Commonwealth invested $38 million of ARRA funds to construct a new exit ramp from Route 24 that provides direct highway access to the 300-acre "Biopark" in Fall River -- the largest ARRA-funded public works project in the Commonwealth. 

The MAB facts 

      Construction Cost: $28 million 
      Total size: 35,000 sq. ft. 
      Production/Support Space: 25,000 sq. ft. 
      On-site facilities: 4 production suites, Quality Control labs, an R&D; suite, training lab, lecture halls, office suite and presentation/public access area