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UMass Lowell Opens $40 Million Academic Building

Health and Social Sciences Building to be Home to Enhanced Programs in Criminal Justice, Nursing and Psychology


N E W S   R E L E A S E

April 18, 2013

Contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or
                Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or

  UMass Lowell Opens $40 Million Academic Building
Health and Social Sciences Building to be Home to Enhanced Programs in Criminal Justice, Nursing and Psychology 

LOWELL, Mass. - More than 200 people – university leaders, legislators, state officials, students, faculty and staff – today opened UMass Lowell’s $40 million Health and Social Sciences Building, the latest building to be constructed as part of the university’s unprecedented and dynamic growth.

The four-story, 69,000-square-foot building on UMass Lowell’s South Campus will make room for the university’s growing student body and will have the capacity to serve nearly 900 students and more than 140 faculty members. Features include:

* A state-of-the-art demonstration hospital wing;
* Simulation laboratories, interview, testing and observation rooms;
* 30-seat and 76-seat classrooms;
* Meeting spaces for group programs and community engagement.

The building will be home to three of the university’s most popular majors, criminal justice, nursing and psychology, which are undergoing a transformation. Effective June 1, UMass Lowell’s Department of Nursing will become the School of Nursing within the newly named College of Health Sciences, formerly known as the School of Health and Environment. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology will become the School of Criminology and Justice Studies. The criminal justice and psychology programs fall under UMass Lowell’s College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

In addition, the Health and Social Sciences Building will become home to UMass Lowell’s new Center on Terrorism Studies, which will be part of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies. The center will be directed by UMass Lowell Prof. James Forest, director of the university’s security studies graduate program and an internationally recognized expert in anti-terrorism and security issues.
Housing these programs under one roof will allow for greater interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty, UMass Lowell representatives told the crowd assembled for the opening.
“These high-caliber programs and beautiful new building go hand-in-hand, providing our students with the real-world experience that will serve as the launching pad for success in their careers and their lives. We are tremendously grateful to Gov. Deval Patrick, the Legislature and the Lowell delegation for securing the funding to make this building and this day a reality,” UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan said.

The Health and Social Sciences Building was funded through the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Bond Bill of 2008. The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) managed the project. 

“Today we celebrate another great milestone in the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to providing the support our public campuses need to provide an excellent education for all students,” said Carole Cornelison, DCAMM commissioner. “For UMass Lowell, it means building the first new academic building constructed from the ground up on the South Campus since the 1970s and an opportunity to begin to address a 40-percent increase in enrollment at the university over the last few years.” 

Today’s opening included building tours attended by public officials, alumni and members of the university community. Along with Meehan and Cornelison, speakers included state Reps. Kevin Murphy and David Nangle; Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch; UMass Lowell Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney; Luis Falcon, dean of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities; Shortie McKinney, dean of the School of Health and Environment; Eve Buzawa, chairwoman of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology; and Richard Siegel, chairman of the Department of Psychology.   

McKinney said the elevation of UMass Lowell’s Nursing Program better reflects the program’s stature within the College of Health Sciences.

“All of our academic programs are founded in the life sciences, especially human health. Our new names better reflect the focus of all of our programs within a science context and position us for growth as we develop new, innovative programs in this new building and across campus,” she said.

Buzawa said the Health and Social Sciences Building will be a multifaceted academic center.
“We are all very excited about the opportunities our new building offers for the continued growth and development of our degree and certificate programs, our funded research enterprise, our new centers and our wide range of domestic and international partnerships,” she said. 

Nina Coppens, dean emerita of the College of Fine Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, a longtime faculty member in both the Nursing and Psychology Departments, was honored during the event as a champion of the new building and for working to bring the Criminal Justice, Nursing and Psychology departments under the same roof. Coppens, who lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday, was remembered as a beloved mentor, leader and friend. 

“Nina’s dedication to UMass Lowell is evident by the decades she spent shaping the lives of hundreds of students and we are proud of and grateful for her commitment to the university family,” Meehan said. Potted daffodils that lined the stage at the ceremony will be planted in a garden to be named in Coppens’ honor, he said. 

“First as a member of the Department of Nursing, then as both a member and chair of the Department of Psychology, and finally as dean of the college she helped form, Nina devoted her skills and passion to this campus and the community we serve,” Siegel said. “The growth and innovations that these departments are bringing about owe much to her leadership and support.”

Located at the intersection of Broadway and Wilder streets, the Health and Social Sciences Building is the academic gateway to UMass Lowell’s South Campus and is part of a campus-wide building boom that includes the new Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center on North Campus, the University Suites residence hall on East Campus, University Crossing and two new parking garages.

The environmentally sustainable building meets a silver-plus certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) under the U.S. Green Building Council. The building was designed by Cambridge Seven Associates Inc. and the general contractor is Gilbane Building Co.    

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 16,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.