EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 1, 2013

UMass Lowell rejects sites for campus

Will accept new proposals for Haverhill location

HAVERHILL — City officials, downtown businesses and potential students were waiting to learn this week what downtown location was chosen as the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s new satellite campus.

UMass Lowell officials said in January that two downtown property owners had responded to a request for bids to host the campus by the Jan. 25 deadline, and that the winning proposal would be chosen Monday.

But yesterday, those officials said they have determined neither proposed property will work. But they said they are not giving up on Haverhill.

It’s back to the drawing board when it comes to selecting the site.

UMass Lowell spokeswoman Christine Gillette said yesterday that after careful review of the two proposals by a university committee, it was determined that neither site meet the school’s needs. Gillette said the committee reviewed the proposals to determine if they met the bidding criteria based on an RFP, or request for proposals — a bidding procedure for property owners.

“The university will issue another request for proposals,” Gillette said.

She said the committee did not provide a particular reason for not choosing either proposal, but that in general neither met the university’s requirements.

“We’ve certainly heard a lot of interest in a Haverhill campus and we are confident we will find a site,” Gillette said. “The university remains committed to opening a satellite campus in Haverhill in the 2013-2014 academic year.”

City officials have said locating the campus in the heart of downtown, either on Merrimack Street or Washington Street, would be ideal. Downtown businesses have expressed optimism that a satellite campus would bring a college crowd to the downtown and that it would be good for many businesses, especially sandwich shops, cafes and other dining establishments.

In late December, the college announced plans to open the satellite campus downtown. UMass-Lowell Chancellor Martin Meehan said the school was looking for 10,000 square feet of office space for six to eight “smart classrooms” and administrative offices for the satellite spot, which will focus on continuing education.

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