MSBA Announces $60M High School Science Lab Initiative

September 28, 2011

Massachusetts School Building Authority Announces $60M High School Science Lab Initiative

State Treasurer Steven Grossman, Chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”), and Katherine Craven, MSBA Executive Director, announced today the allocation of $60 million to establish a Science Lab Initiative. This initiative is funded by the MSBA’s remaining allocation of Qualified School Construction Bond proceeds and will allow districts to take advantage of the MSBA’s recently-released science lab guidelines. This innovative, competitive grant program will represent a unique opportunity for districts to invest in otherwise-sound high school facilities by focusing capital spending on prototype designs for science labs. This program will facilitate the delivery of a 21st century science curriculum and enhance the learning environment for high school students across the Commonwealth.

Districts will use the forthcoming Statement of Interest (“SOI”) filing period opening on October 3rd to express interest in this program. A Science Lab Advisory Panel will evaluate proposals from districts that express deficiencies with their existing science labs and identify how new science labs would enhance their educational program. This competitive grant program will take advantage of the lessons learned from the MSBA’s Green Repair Program.

“The engine of prosperity in Massachusetts is the innovation economy, and it draws much of its fuel from the science and biotech fields,” said Grossman. “Ensuring that our high school students have access to a top-notch, 21st century science curriculum and facilities not only better prepares our kids for the demands of an evolving job market, but it will also enhance the future competitiveness of the Commonwealth.”

“The initiative announced today is the culmination of years of work by the MSBA and its Science Lab Task Force,” stated Katherine Craven. “This is a powerful example of education, government, and industry leaders working together to create science labs that will enhance learning for Massachusetts’ students.”

The MSBA’s Science Lab Task Force developed a prototype design for science lab and instruction space, including requirements and best practices. The Science Lab Task Force included MSBA Board members and staff, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education staff, science educators, science and technology consultants, science lab safety consultants, local architects, and construction management consultants. Based on the feedback of experts, this group put forth a science lab prototype that is curriculum-driven, accommodates all science disciplines in its flexibility, and provides a safe learning environment for students.

The MSBA strives to find the right-sized, most fiscally-responsible, and educationally-appropriate solutions to create safe and sound learning environments. In its six year history, the MSBA has made more than $8 billion in reimbursements to cities, towns, and regional school districts for school construction projects. These timely payments have saved municipalities over $2.9 billion in avoided local interest costs and have provided much needed cash flow to communities in these difficult economic times.