UMass President Robert Caret and in-coming Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswammy were in Springfield today (Monday) to greet the city’s elected and business leaders. Local officials say they want a bigger U-Mass footprint in the city — and school officials say they are willing to consider it. But they add that as they study placement of a satellite campus in the area, they will be looking for meaningful incentives. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he’s appreciative of the University’s ongoing partnerships with the city that were begun under previous administrations – from education collaborations, to bio and life sciences research at Baystate Medical Center. But he says there’s more that the University could do to help stimulate economic development in western Massachusetts largest city, such as creating a satellite campus.
“And it just only makes sense to me that U-Mass should have a much more pronounced physical presence in downtown Springfield.”
The idea of a satellite campus possibly in Springfield is being considered as part of feasibility study by the U-Mass Donahue Institute, according to University President Robert Caret. He says he’s expecting the institute’s recommendations in a few weeks.
“Where the need and support come together and that’s the greatest, that’s where we’ll try the first one or two, and if that happens to be Springfield that would be great. But part of that will be what is the entity- the city itself- willing to put up. What is the business community willing to put up, whether it’s free rent or building or operating costs? Because if we can have a partner, we can do it much more easily.”
Chancellor-elect Kumble Subbaswammy says he’s looking to strengthen ties with Springfield, though he’s non-committal on creating a satellite campus there.
“I want to focus on what can UMass-Amherst do to meet the needs that the Mayor would identify in the city rather than think about any particular solution.”
Subaswammy begins his new job as Chancellor July 1st.