Holyoke Community College receives its largest grant ever - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke Community College receives its largest grant ever

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

The life sciences sector of Western Massachusetts got a big boost financially on Thursday.

Gov. Deval Patrick, along with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, announced more than $9 million in grant money for life sciences related projects.

Of the grant, $3.8 million is destined for Holyoke Community College, which school officials said was the largest grant the school has ever received.

The governor compared investing in education now to previous eras that invested not only in education, but infrastructure.

"The question for our time is, are we going to be willing to make those same kinds of sacrifices to create a better life for ourselves and our grandchildren?" said Patrick.

HCC already has plans for the grant money, as labs will undergo their first total renovation in four decades.

Administrators say the benefits are twofold for students. First, the new labs and new tools will improve students chances of transferring to four-year programs.

"Secondly, it will be easier for students to find employment because they will have worked with state-of-the-art equipment and be much better prepared to enter the workforce," said Kathy Hankel, Dean of HCC's Health and Natural Sciences department.

With the millions in grant money announced on Thursday, the governor could not avoid the topic of the pending sequester. He said it is still too early to see how it would impact state funding.

"The expectation is the first round of this sequester would mean a couple of hundred million dollars of impact in Massachusetts, with much of that coming from the private sector," Patrick stated.

HCC's grant money will also be used to fund what's called a "clean room."

It will be the only one of its kind in Western Mass, giving students the chance to train in a sterile environment.

Also awarded grant money was the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center.

The Holyoke facility received over $4.5 million.

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