Merrimack College marked the next chapter in its STEM education and research endeavors with an official opening celebration on Thursday, Sept. 22, of the new Center for Innovation and Research in Engineering and Computational Sciences.
Purchased less than six months ago, the buildings at 510 and 530 Turnpike St. now house a myriad of labs, collaborative workspaces and classrooms for students and faculty to analyze, build, and problem-solve, both creatively and critically, to provide tangible solutions to real-world challenges.
“Merrimack College’s overall investment in STEM education and research is an investment in the advancement of our society and community,” said Merrimack College President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. “It is a commitment to the exploration of ‘what’s next?’ The next engineering marvel, technological innovation, or scientific discovery that will profoundly reshape our daily lives could very well come from this facility.”
More than 150 people attended the opening event, including Merrimack College Board of Trustees members, local town officials, and members of the Merrimack community. State Senators Bruce Tarr and Barry Finegold each offered congratulatory remarks and presented a citation to the College along with State Senator Diana DiZoglio.
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Merrimack engineering students led tours of the new state-of-the-art facility. In addition to exploring the innovation workshop and fabrication spaces, guests could also interact with robots Pepper and SPOT.
Many of the evening’s speakers touched upon the various impacts the new facility will have on Merrimack and the greater community. Not only will it serve as an economic driver, but alumni will also go on to fill and lead high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the Merrimack Valley area and beyond. It will also create more space and resources to grow the College’s life sciences programs.
“Today is a special day because it marks the renaissance of engineering at Merrimack College,” said Jose Sanchez, dean of the School of Science and Engineering. “Students will quickly feel a sense of belonging and will thrive by joining a community of learners, entrepreneurs, and designers.”
The Center for Innovation and Research more than doubles the College’s engineering education space and expands the overall campus footprint by adding more than 25,000 square feet.
This significant investment in the College’s research infrastructure is a key initiative in the Agenda For The Future and will position Merrimack to attract more students, and more research-focused faculty, grow its reputation across the region, and move closer to the goal of becoming a doctoral-granting institution.
“With this facility we can see the next steps of the college’s wonderful journey,” Hopey said. “We can see with more clarity where we are going and where we need to be. This facility represents a transformation of Merrimack’s impact on the community and on our ability to grow, to serve our mission and to have a profound impact on the world around us.”