Hitchcock Center Plans New Sustainable Facility With Cultural Facilities Fund Grant

May 13, 2014
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
Greg Liakos, Massachusetts Cultural Council, 617-858-2720
Julie Johnson, Hitchcock Center, 413-256-6006

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $30,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, an environmental learning center in Amherst. The Center will use grant funds to design a sustainable facility at Hampshire College as the Center’s new home. The Hitchcock Center will also use the grant for facility planning at its current location in Amherst.

“The Hitchcock Center’s new facility will provide an innovative example of sustainable building and living,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Future Massachusetts developments can learn from the new structure at Hampshire College, and we’re pleased to provide this grant so the Center to expand the reach of its sustainable education.”

The Hitchcock Center fosters greater awareness and understanding of the environment to develop environmentally-literate citizens. Its programs use the study of science and nature – its models, systems, processes, and elements – to provide creative inspiration for solving human problems sustainably. The new building will meet or exceed the highest standards of green building, including the Living Building Challenge Certification. The Hitchcock Center envisions the estimated 8,000-square-foot building to be the first environmental learning center to: achieve net-zero energy and net-zero water; demonstrate enduring, dynamic building systems that actively model and mimic key ecological cycles and systems; and have custom-designed, hands-on teaching curricula and exhibits that use the building as an active tool to teach the foundational principles of sustainability.

“Continuing our 50+ year legacy, the Hitchcock Center has taken on this ambitious project because we hold ourselves to the highest standard of sustainable development,” said Hitchcock Center Executive Director Julie Johnson. “The new Hitchcock Center will amplify our mission by being a catalyst for change, inspiring and engaging every generation in our community to pursue an ecologically sustainable future.”

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council administer the Cultural Facilities Fund, an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006, the Fund offers capital, feasibility, technical assistance, and systems replacement grants for eligible nonprofits engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Fund has awarded more than $55 million in grants to cultural organizations across Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MassDevelopment and Massachusetts Cultural Council websites.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2013, MassDevelopment financed or managed 350 projects generating investment of more than $2.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 7,000 jobs and build or rehabilitate 800 residential units.

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