Daily News

WESTFIELD — Gov. Charlie Baker announced during his visit to Westfield State University’s campus on Tuesday that the university will receive a $21.25 million investment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to renovate its oldest building, Parenzo Hall. The funding to Westfield State is made possible by H.4549, “An Act Providing for Capital Repairs and Improvements for the Commonwealth,” a bill ceremonially signed by Baker during the campus visit.

Through the Parenzo Hall renovation project, the university aspires to transform the dated building into a state-of-the-art hub for student success and workforce development. In addition to optimal space utilization, renovations will create two new centers: the Center for Innovation in Education and Industry Partnerships and the Center for Student Success and Engagement. In addition to benefitting Westfield State students, the centers are intended to have far-reaching impact beyond the university’s physical campus.

“The educational and community collaborations that will grow in this newly renovated facility will have a boundless impact on our students, local high-school students, and members of the surrounding communities and businesses beyond our Westfield campus,” said President Ramon Torrecilha. “Westfield State University is greatly appreciative of this vital state investment. The enhancements and new programs made possible with this funding will enable us to further improve accessibility to high-quality, affordable public higher education in Western Massachusetts.”

According to Torrecilha, nearly 94% of Westfield State students are Massachusetts residents, and the majority go on to build their lives and careers in the Bay State following graduation.

Overall, H.4549 authorizes approximately $3.9 billion to address the Commonwealth’s statewide capital needs, including higher-education campuses, health and human services facilities, state office buildings, public-safety facilities, and courts. The bond bill authorizes $950 million for public higher-education investments.

“This plan marks a critical turning point in the Commonwealth’s approach to capital funding for public higher education,” state Education Secretary James Peyser said. “Our goal is to maximize the use and functionality of existing spaces, align programs to meet regional and statewide workforce needs, strengthen partnerships between higher education and private-sector employers, and encourage more creative and efficient use of existing spaces.”

Parenzo Hall has not undergone major renovations since its opening in 1956. The renovation project is consistent with the Baker-Polito administration’s approach to capital investment that emphasizes repairing and modernizing existing assets, while ensuring that spending is always maintained at an affordable level. Nearly matching the state’s $21.25 million investment, Westfield State will invest nearly $20 million of university funds into the project, which has a total cost of $40 million.

Parenzo Hall’s Center for Innovation in Education and Industry Partnerships will leverage technology to serve as a nexus for innovative collaboration in Western Mass., partnering with K-12 school districts, community colleges, and industry partners. It will teach students and community partners how to engage productively in online hybrid environments that increase flexibility for students, facilitate co-enrollment, expand course choices, and provide a bridge to employment.

The Center for Student Success and Engagement will address the student-outcome goals of the Vision Project (increasing retention and graduation rates while reducing the achievement gap). The project will also address the continuing decline in the number of working-age adults. The center will increase student preparation for advanced learning and support exploration of career pathways in elementary and high schools to prepare them for on-the-job training. New and in-demand certificate programs, as well as advanced study options, will be offered to its business partners, utilizing technology.

According to Torrecilha, the two new Centers will be linked to offer students the opportunity to engage with industry professionals, work on real-world application of their knowledge and skill sets, and explore career opportunities.

“As a graduate of Westfield State, I know how valuable the university is to students from the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire district and throughout the Commonwealth alike,” said state Sen. Donald Humason Jr. “I am pleased that this bond authorization will make important improvements to the infrastructure of the campus, ensuring this important resource will be available for students for years to come.”

Added state Sen. John Velis, “I am thrilled that Westfield State University and other state colleges are receiving these funds. Investing in the facilities at these schools shows the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to improving public higher education. Keeping the buildings up to date is essential to ensuring that our public colleges and universities remain at the forefront of technology, innovation, and creativity. These funds will have a real and substantial impact on the success of students, faculty, and the institutions as a whole.”

Daily News

HADLEY — Greenfield Savings Bank (GSB) announced four team members for its new Hadley office: Hector Toledo, Jocelyn Walsh, Jacqueline O’Connell, and Joseph Dallair.

Toledo has been named office manager of the new Hadley office. He joins Greenfield Savings Bank with 28 years of experience in banking. In his role as manager, he will concentrate on business development, in addition to managing the operations of the Hadley Office. Among his volunteer roles for numerous local nonprofit organizations, Toledo is a board member and chair of the finance committee of Baystate Health and a member of the board of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. He has previously chaired the board of Springfield Technical Community College and served as a board member of both the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

Walsh has been promoted to the Hadley office as a super banker. GSB super bankers are customer-service professionals who can assist customers with a wide range of banking services, including account openings, online and mobile banking, as well as account transactions. Before joining the staff in Hadley, she worked for GSB at the Shelburne Falls office for more than two years.

O’Connell has joined the staff of the Hadley office as a super banker. She has worked for GSB for more than three years at the Amherst office on University Drive.

Dallair has joined the staff of the Hadley office as a teller. Prior to joining the team at Greenfield Savings Bank, he worked for three years in customer-service positions in other industries. He began working at GSB in 2017 as a teller in the Greenfield office.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — MassDevelopment has issued a $1.9 million bond for CJBW Stamp, LLC, the real-estate arm of Valley Steel Stamp, which will use bond proceeds to construct a 17,500-square-foot building in the Greenfield Industrial Park that the company will then lease.

The new building will be next to an existing 27,500-square-foot building that Valley Steel Stamp also leases and has reached full capacity. When completed, the new building will accommodate additional equipment needed to fulfill customer orders. The project is expected to create nine jobs and support 13 construction jobs. GSB Securities Corp., an affiliate of Greenfield Savings Bank, purchased the bond.

“For more than 40 years, Valley Steel Stamp has been a key part of the Western Massachusetts tradition of high-quality precision machining, and this company has grown to become a major player in the sector,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is pleased to support Valley Steel Stamp as it once again takes steps to further expand operations here in the Commonwealth.”

Valley Steel Stamp was founded in 1971 by William Capshaw as a two-man operation that produced custom-made steel-marking stamps. Over the years, William’s son, Steven, has expanded and diversified the company’s product line to now include general machining and tooling for customers in the aerospace, defense, and firearm industries. Valley Steel Stamp’s facility in Greenfield is a world headquarters for more than 50 highly skilled precision machinists serving over 300 companies in 10 countries. MassDevelopment previously issued bonds to support the purchase and expansion of this facility in 2008 and 2012.

Daily News

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank distributed more than $22,000 in scholarships to high-school seniors who graduated this year from Monson, Ware, and Wilbraham/Hampden high schools and Wilbraham & Monson Academy.

“As a community bank, we are committed to helping local families save, prepare, and pay for higher education,” said Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. All of the students were invited to the bank’s corporate headquarters for a celebration, where Lowell spoke to them about their future and congratulated each one on their hard work and accomplishments.

The scholarships were presented to students selected by their school who have demonstrated academic success and have an interest in pursuing a higher education. Monson Savings Bank congratulates the students from the following schools who were selected to receive the 2018 scholarships: Isabela Ferraro, Grace Pettenqill, Bianca Pio, Lisa Cavanaugh, Serina Bowen, Hannah Hicks, Cienna Moriarty, Benjamin Pagliaro, Macauley Rouette, Ethan Hill, Kaitlyn Rousseau, and Nigel Opoku-Achampong.