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Governor Announces Renovation Funds

Burnell Hall to get $25 million state investment

Even before the first hammer swing, Jessica Moore, ’22, can see the importance of a renovated Burnell Hall. The newly funded project will ensure Bridgewater State University can continue preparing education and health sciences professionals for generations to come.

“It’s going to benefit the future teachers,” said Jessica, an early childhood education and psychology major from Wilmington. “Therefore, it’s going to benefit my children and grandchildren.”

The state is investing $25 million to renovate the former elementary school built in 1979. The project, also funded by $14.1 million from BSU, will create a central home for the College of Education and Health Sciences. The college will be able to expand enrollment by nearly 10 percent for students seeking these in-demand careers.

“The renovation of Burnell Hall represents one of the most significant building projects in the last 50 years,” President Frederick W. Clark Jr., ’83, said of the work expected to be completed over four years.

Clark welcomed Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who announced the funding after touring a laboratory and meeting BSU students.

“In the academic programs that will be housed in this updated facility, students will be able to work toward in-demand degrees and licenses in fields like occupational and physical therapy and public health,” Baker said. “We’re excited to see this project come together and look forward to seeing the many benefits it will ... deliver for Bridgewater State University and the region.”

The renovation will create a true home for the college, which is currently scattered across several buildings. New laboratories, classrooms, offices and collaborative spaces will help prepare students for the high-tech classrooms and health facilities that are becoming increasingly common. In new elementary and middle/high school think-tank rooms, students, teachers and school district partners will explore the newest approaches to teaching.  

“It’s a transformational investment for us that will service critical workforce needs in education and health sciences and will support innovative program delivery, the advanced use of technology, and promote student success,” Clark said. “And, after all, this is all for our students.”

BSU is already the education hub of Massachusetts, graduating more teachers than any other Bay State institution. This role is more important than ever, with a projected 200,000-teacher shortage nationwide by 2025.

The college also prepares students for careers in health sciences, including public health, physical and occupational therapy and athletic training. Over the next decade in Southeastern Massachusetts, demand for physical therapists is expected to grow 25 percent, with similar growth forecast in related health professions.

Ultimately, the project serves the Bears who will fill its halls and classrooms, and subsequently helps the innumerable patients and youngsters whose lives these graduates will change during their careers.

“Any benefit for teachers is a benefit for students in Massachusetts, which is amazing,” said Morghan Smith, ’22, an elementary education and English major from Brockton.

Jessica added: “Thank you for bettering the next generation.”

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