With its soaring spaces and iconic clock tower, the historic Pandora building at 88 Commercial Street in Manchester is a testament to the city’s past economic vitality—and a bit of a metaphor for the future of UNH. After standing vacant for some three decades, in early 2015 the millyard landmark will become the new home for UNH’s Manchester campus, deepening the university’s commitment to developing a technology-savvy workforce with a number of new academic programs. “UNH’s campus in Manchester is an amazing asset for the city and for the region,” says president Mark Huddleston. “The expansion signals the university’s commitment to its role in Manchester and to Merrimack Valley area businesses who count on work-ready UNH graduates.”
In July, the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees voted unanimously to support the sale of UNH’s current building at 400 Commercial Street to DEKA in exchange for a long-term lease with the option to buy the Pandora space.
“This building is just the start,” says UNH Manchester interim dean J. Michael Hickey ’73. “It provides a foundation for success.”
The move will consolidate UNH’s urban college in a single building and provide a 44 percent increase in space over its current location. The space will allow for new and upgraded labs focusing in areas of engineering and computing technology, mechanical engineering technology, digital media, sign language interpretation, psychology, biology and chemistry. The biological sciences program, which saw a more than 20 percent increase in enrollment this fall, will have five new labs, including a new area for cell biology.
This year UNH Manchester is introducing new programs in analytics, accounting, computer science & entrepreneurship and English teaching. A number of current programs are also being redesigned and expanded to respond to market needs for technology-savvy and work-ready graduates. The college expects to grow its student base to 1,000 over the next four years.
Community and state leaders gathered in September to celebrate the expansion and move of the Manchester campus. U.S. senator Kelly Ayotte, congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas and DEKA founder and CEO Dean Kamen were among those who spoke to the significance of the move and UNH’s commitment to the Merrimack Valley.
“The education you get at UNH is the future,” says Shea-Porter. “This school will serve our city, state and country very well.”
Originally published by:
From UNH Magazine, Fall 2014 Issue