EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 15, 2008

North Shore colleges changing with the times

Near the edge of Coy Pond in Wenham, a large glass-and-brick building stands over the bucolic campus of Gordon College. The 80,000-square-foot edifice, which is near the end of its first phase of construction, will be dedicated as the Ken Olsen Science Center in September, and it could be the most tangible example of several innovative initiatives taking place at colleges around the North Shore.

The North Shore's colleges, public and private, have long been a rich resource for community learning. But their development projects also boost the local economy, as they invest in new programs and new facilities, from big construction projects to new course offerings preparing students for jobs of the future.

Here's a look at some of the newest developments at local colleges.

Gordon College

When completed, the Ken Olsen Science Center — to be named after Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corp. — will house all of the Christian college's science and technology programs, which are now squeezed into two small buildings on campus.

"The facilities we have don't come up to par with the classes and the faculty," said Daniel Tymann, a college vice president who also heads up fundraising. "The current facilities are a bit of a turnoff."

Phase one of the $30 million science center will be dedicated in Septemer; phase two is expected to take another year and a half, after more money is raised.

In addition to faculty offices, classrooms and research labs, the center will have a large lecture hall, a 400-seat auditorium, and the Digital Equipment Corp. Loggia of Technology — a formal lobby with museum-quality displays honoring Olsen and DEC's contributions to the field of science and technology. Botany students will eventually have use of a full greenhouse on the top floor, and psychology students will perform sleep studies and observe people from large windows overlooking the campus.

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