Seven years in the making, the Center for Science and Innovation opened its doors for students Wednesday at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. The concept of focusing on the sciences and technology was a good one in 2006 and it has only come to look better as the years have progressed.
MCLA President Mary K. Grant has been the driving force for the science center since its inception. The $30 million project constitutes the largest investment in public education in Berkshire history and was part of a bond bill brought by Governor Deval Patrick, who has emphasized the need for both enhanced science education and more science-oriented businesses. State Senator Ben Downing of Pittsfield and former state Representative Dan Bosley of North Adams were among the elected officials who worked diligently to secure funding for the center.
The sciences -- biology, chemistry and physics among them -- are growth fields, fueled by innovations in computer technology that open up doors for researchers. MCLA’s Center for Science and Innovation will provide a path for Berkshire students to get into those fields and find secure, satisfying and well-compensated jobs in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Ideally, the center will provide a hub for related businesses seeking to establish themselves in a region where there is already a qualified work force in place.
Students at Berkshire Community College, which in recent years has strengthened its relationship with MCLA, will benefit from the opening of the Science Center, and earlier this week, the two county colleges received about $55,000 fin grants from the state Department of Education to fund their continued participation in the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program. The program encourages high school students to pursue a college degree and gets them started by enabling them to earn college credits while still in high school. Those students interested in the sciences will now have the option of benefiting from a state-of-the-art science center located in their back yard.