Massachusetts computing center one step closer to completion - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Massachusetts computing center one step closer to completion

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

A couple of years ago the Massachusetts Green High Performance Center was just an idea. Today the final steel beam was placed marking the end of the first phase of completion.

City, state and college officials watched as members of Ironworkers Local 7 lowered the final steel beam onto the revolutionary new building in Holyoke's soon to be "Innovation District."

"We're going to have a rebirth in the city of Holyoke, which is very exciting," said Holyoke Representative, Michael F. Kane.

Though still surrounded by orange fencing and caution tape, the massive structure is already exciting officials. The high tech center, which will soon house a world-class computing center, is already creating buzz that the Paper City will soon be on the map for academic research and will also create widespread economic growth.

"The big question is how are we going to take advantage of this project to make sure we use it as a catalyst to bring other development, other technology-based entrepreneurs back to the city of Holyoke, making sure we're attracting college graduates to work here," said Holyoke's Mayor elect, Alex Morse.

Attracting workers and keeping them are goals for the new "Innovation District" and are  possible, according to officials through UMass, Boston University, MIT, Harvard and Northeastern University, the five universities supporting the center.

"Our challenge is to make sure young people want to live work and have fun in the city of Holyoke and I think the computing center will help create that," said Morse.

The structure will cost an estimated $95 million funded by state dollars and the five universities. Officials say it's worth the cost as they predict a new legacy for the city.

"The city of Holyoke is on the move and the people around here are energized. They've been looking forward to seeing this being built and today we're looking at a structure that's on its way," said Representative Kane.

The project is creating a total of 600 construction jobs, and by its completion at the end of 2012, 130 research jobs and 13 permanent jobs will be created at the center.

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