Berkshire Innovation Center grand opening set for Feb. 28

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PITTSFIELD The $13.8 million Berkshire Innovation Center has been open since last fall, but the grand opening ceremony won't take place until the end of February.

That ceremony, including the building's symbolic ribbon-cutting and other celebratory activities, has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 28 at the center, in the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires, 45 Woodlawn Ave.

The city of Pittsfield issued a certificate of occupancy for the two-story, 20,000-square-foot facility Oct. 9. Activity has been taking place there for several months. Colorado-based Electro Magnetic Applications, which plans to build an aerospace chamber at the BIC, moved in before the new year, principal scientist Justin McKennon has said.

Programming connected with the BIC's mission has been taking place at other Berkshire venues for several years.

The BIC also will include training facilities, biotech labs, offices and event space designed to assist small- and medium-size companies in the Berkshires. The structure also is considered to be a key factor in the development of the 52-acre business park, which was established in 1998 but still is mostly vacant.

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Construction on the BIC began in September 2018, but the entire project took 11 years to complete from start to finish.

The project that eventually became the BIC started in 2008, when the city of Pittsfield received a $6.5 million earmark in then-Gov. Deval Patrick's $1 billion life sciences bill to build a life sciences-related facility in the business park. That legislation also established the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and in 2014 the MLSC provided an additional $3.2 million for the BIC, bringing the project's total cost up to $9.7 million.

Construction originally was scheduled to begin in 2015, but the project was delayed for three years, after the original bids came in $3 million higher than expected.

In 2018, a public-private consortium of state, local and private sector officials came together to finally resolve the funding dilemma, with help from an additional $2.3 million from the state of Massachusetts and money from the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority and MassDevelopment. PEDA is the quasi-public agency charged with the business park's development.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.


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