Boston’s Life Science Building Boom in the Higher Education Sector
With over 120 colleges, universities, and community colleges in Greater Boston, the region is clearly a rich hub for higher education. And over the past few years, we’ve seen a building boom on campuses, as many of the area’s institutions compete to create the most attractive and most academically advanced setting.
In particular, Boston’s college campuses have seen a number of life science buildings emerge in the past year alone, including Tufts’ Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), Boston University’s Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering (CILSE) and Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC).
With schools striving for bigger and better amenities for their students, the construction of state-of-the-art academic buildings is essential for them to remain competitive. In particular, life science buildings can be credited for creating construction jobs citywide—as well as attracting more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs—while also fostering innovation in the city and boosting its reputation in the biotech sector.
JM Electrical has completed work on a number of life science buildings, including Boston University’s Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering (CILSE) and Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC), as previously mentioned. At both facilities, JM Electrical installed complete building automation systems, which are essential to the operational use of the buildings. Many lab ventilation systems use mostly outside air to circulate throughout the building, when paired with air valves and fume hoods, controlled air movement is provided maintaining a safe and ideal working environment.
This life science trend also extends into the business sector as well; over the years, we have seen a number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies set up shop in Cambridge’s Kendall Square including Genzyme, Pfizer and Ariad, among many others. More and more investments are being made in the biopharmaceutical arena, and our country’s need for new infrastructure extends into this sector as well.
While Boston’s colleges and universities are boosting the economy with their investments in life science buildings, it also reinforces overall competitiveness in higher education. Today, there is a constant need to build bigger and better facilities in order to attract students who are big thinkers. College application numbers increase every year at schools like Harvard, Boston University, Northeastern University, etc. which means more colleges and universities are accepting slightly larger classes and, therefore, a need for more academic space. It is fitting that the higher education sector adapts to this need, which is what we have seen in the recent building boom.
These modern, collaborative environments are attracting students from all over the world to come into Boston and expand their knowledge. This is a direct response to the life science boom. As a result, Boston’s reputation for innovation is being heightened, with the economy benefitting both in the short and long term.