NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 20, 2013

Deadline extended for UMass Lowell satellite bidders

Lawrence interested in campus if Haverhill fails

HAVERHILL — UMass Lowell has extended the deadline for proposals for a downtown satellite campus as it tries to entice property owners to bid on the project.

The college has also expanded the area those proposals can come from.

Meanwhile, several Lawrence property owners are interested in hosting the school, and one has even submitted a bid on the project even though his property is well outside the boundaries of the target area identified for the school.

In late December, the college announced plans to open a satellite campus in downtown Haverhill. College Chancellor Martin Meehan said the school was looking for 10,000 square feet of office space for six to eight “smart classrooms’’ and administrative offices for the satellite spot, which will focus on continuing education.

A request for proposals, or RFP, was published on the school’s website and distributed to area property owners. The deadline was Jan. 18.

That deadline has been extended to Jan. 25 and the map has been expanded.

The original RFP required the leased space be in downtown, within walking distance of Haverhill’s train and bus stations, and within an “area of interest” indicated on a map within the 60-page document. The map showed the downtown area from Main Street to the train station, and bordered by Walnut Street/Bailey Boulevard to the north and the Merrimack River to the south.

The new map has the same east-west coordinates and is still bordered by the Merrimack River to the south, but has been nearly doubled in size by extending farther north, all the way to Route 97/Winter Street.

Christine Gillette, a spokeswoman for the college, said the map was changed “after a team from the university did a site walk of the area and felt that there were more potential locations beyond what was covered by the first map.’’

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