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New Environmental Lab built at WSC?

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WESTFIELD Congressman John W. Olver (D-1st District) announced June 1 that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a funding bill that includes $250,000 for Westfield State College (WSC) to establish a new Environmental Center.

"There is no groundbreaking yet. We are still working on the financial aspects. The $250,000 approved by the House will come from Federal Funding there is no state funding be allotted," said Barry Maloney vice president for advancement at Westfield State College."

"Olver was very helpful in pushing through the $250,000 . The Senate will either go up or will shave off of this number," Maloney said.

"The new environmental center will build on partnerships between the College and public schools in Westfield," Olver said, "The center will also assist the City with making informal decisions about the use and preservation of natural resources, such as the Westfield River."

"These funds would allow Westfield State College to renovate space in one of its college buildings for the new Environmental Center. The new center will be used by faculty and students to interact and work on environmental research; to hold environmental classes, community group meetings and symposia; for K-12 science faculty to meet and discuss iprovements to the science curriculum; and as a Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) learning center."

"The current condition of the environmental lab resembles a 1960's classroom," said Professor Michael Vorwerk chair of the Environmental sciences at WSC.

Vorwerk collaborated with Professor Tim Parshall and Professor Robert Thompson in organizing the Westfield River Environmental Center.

"Though $250,000 has come through the House we are waiting for the Senate's approval and we are hoping to get the $500,000 that we originally asked for," said Maloney.

The money will go towards the remodeling of a couple existing classrooms in Wilson Hall in the Biology and Physical Sciences Department said Maloney.

"We will know by midsummer if the money comes through," said Maloney.

With approval of funds Maloney said the College would plan on having the renovations take place late spring of next year.