Planning Team Formed To Explore UNH Manchester Expansion
October 31, 2007
As an anchor in Manchester’s vibrant millyard, UNH Manchester has enjoyed
continued success since 1985 when it was established as UNH’s urban college.
It has become a vital component of the region’s economic engine that
is valued by students, business and industry for educational opportunity and
Further recognition of UNH Manchester’s crucial role came this summer
with news from U.S. Senator John Sununu’s office of a $400,000 appropriation
for a planning grant to explore needed upgrades to UNH Manchester‘s classroom
and laboratory facilities. The appropriation is moving through the legislative
Responding to this positive climate, President Mark Huddleston recently appointed
a planning team to explore expansion of the Manchester campus. The team represents
the university’s campuses in Durham and Manchester, the City of Manchester
and community members.
Members of the team, called the UNH Manchester Initiative, include Kristin
Woolever, UNH Manchester dean and team chair; Doug Bencks, university architect;
Kathy Braun , UNH Manchester director of finance and administration; Dick Cannon,
vice president for finance and administration (ex-officio); Taylor Eighmy,
vice president for research; Dan Innis, WSBE dean; Ginger Lever, UNH Manchester
director of marketing and community relations; Bruce Mallory, provost and executive
vice president (ex-officio); Jay Minkarah, director, Manchester Office of Economic
Development; Stephen Pugh, associate professor and UNH Manchester science and
technology division chair; Harry Richards, dean of the graduate school; Peggy
Sullivan, UNH Foundation and Frank Wells, UNH Manchester advisory board member
and Senior VP, Hoyle Tanner Engineering.
The focus of the team is to develop models that will meet current and future
program needs for the Merrimack valley technology corridor. The team will focus
on new programs in science, technology and business responding to economic
demands and demographic trends. At the conclusion of its work in the spring
of 2008, the team will bring forward options for physical plant and curriculum
expansion that are flexible, practical, endorsed by the community and can be
staged over time with incremental funding.
Robin Comstock, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce,
endorsed the college’s focus on science and technology.
“The campus will create jobs and draw and keep employers because of
its ability to be progressive and innovative. UNH Manchester contributes to
our community, its culture and the economy both directly and indirectly in
many ways. And it shapes the direction we will travel into the future. We at
the Chamber applaud UNH Manchester, and its expansion goals,” Comstock
The need for additional facilities is a present challenge for the college.
In order to respond to increased demand for classroom space from undergraduate
and graduate education programs this year, UNH Manchester expanded its presence
in the millyard to include classroom and office space on the fourth floor of
286 Commercial Street. The college is moving forward with a proposal for a
new bachelor’s degree in the biology program to respond to student and
industry needs and will need to expand its laboratory space once it receives
Although N.H.’s economy has been resilient over time, access to higher
education and an educated workforce is essential for the region’s continued
economic health. Employment trends identified by Ross Gittell, James R. Carter
Professor at UNH, speak to the challenges faced by business and industry with
an aging population and a need to replace retiring boomers.
Gittell highlights the gap between qualified workers and available jobs in
health services, information sciences, business, education and engineering
Angelou Economics’ recent economic assessment of the City of Manchester
highlighted the region’s need to invest in education and training to
meet demands for skilled works in the future. The report specifically noted
the need to expand programs in engineering and science in the area to sustain
growth and a positive business climate.
The planning team is scheduled to meet monthly through May and will present
its findings and recommendations at that time. For more information on the
UNH Manchester Initiative or the work of the planning team, contact UNH Manchester’s
Dean, Kristin Woolever.