It can’t go on this way.

UMass Dartmouth just can’t.

The latest reporting that the university leadership pulled their exorbitant $75 million estimate of the maintenance needs of the New Bedford Star Store out of nothing more than a verbal conversation with bureaucrats at the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance is the last straw.

Chancellor Mark Fuller and his administrative team are doing serious damage to the school’s reputation as an academic institution devoted to the serious pursuit of knowledge.

Tasked with providing a good faith estimate of the costs of its artisan campus in downtown New Bedford, the chancellor blithely told the media that it could cost anywhere from $50 million to $75 million.

All these sustainability requirements from the state, he said, seeming to shrug his shoulders. We simply can’t afford it. 

Of course, we really liked having a campus in New Bedford, he explained, but it’s simply not doable. 

As my Irish forebears would say, what a line of malarkey.

Fuller and his team have squandered something he can’t get back with the people of the region that he is supposed to serve — his trustworthiness. 

First, his rationale was that the school had terribly serious liability issues at the Star Store because it no longer had a lease or a line item in the state budget funding its annual cost.

Of course, Chancellor Fuller wouldn’t want to pick up the phone and talk about that challenge to New Bedford state Sen. Mark Montigny or Mayor Jon Mitchell to see what could be done about that situation. No, he blindsided both of them and announced the school’s closure two weeks before classes were to begin in an “open” letter to the community. No doubt crafted by his corporate wanna-be “strategic communications” team.

I kid you not, that’s what the UMass Dartmouth PR folks actually call themselves.

The chancellor’s next rationale was that the closure of the New Bedford campus was all because the city College of Visual and Performing Arts building needed up to $75 million in deferred maintenance. That turned out to be smoke and mirrors, too. The real cost is more like less than $20 million, and that’s not an immediate cost that has to be done all at once. It may be even less if a creative ownership of the building can be worked out with Montigny and/or Mitchell that more reasonably controls the sustainability costs.

Next, the chancellor and his team settled on the argument that even if the maintenance was done, the university could not afford it because it would cost a million dollars a year to run the building.

Who knows which casual conversation and with whom led to that figure! Fuller and his team have demonstrated that they will use any outlandish numbers they can imagine to rationalize the departure of the CVPA from the city.

Can’t do it. Can’t do it. Can’t do it.

The university likes to boast these days that they are the only “research university south of Boston.” But they make that claim at the same time they ignore what the people and leadership who actually live on the South Coast say they want and need from the university. 

The local academic bureaucracy has also done these things at the same time the Master of Fine Art students who already attend the school say that they abandoned their responsibility to deliver what they promised them. Almost unethically, the administrators have told the CVPA students not to worry, we’ll give you a degree even if you don’t have any of the facilities or learning environments necessary to legitimately earn that award. 

They bring the definition of an ivory tower to a new low. 

What’s really going on at UMass Dartmouth is that a core group of careerists at the school resent the New Bedford campus and they have resented it for a long, long time.

Here’s an example. The stories about administration after UMD administration — relentlessly led by chancellors from outside the region — failing to work out a deal for affordable parking, adequate shuttle and food services to the New Bedford campus. The problem has long been common knowledge among the city faculty and students.

The crew in charge at UMD just don’t get the South Coast cities and towns they have supposedly come to serve. And the more you talk to them, the more you realize that they have this delusion that one of the branches of the public university system of Massachusetts exists for THEIR personal goals and not the goals of the region in which the state opened the university.

I had a recent conversation with Doug Roscoe, a political science professor who is a first-team player on what goes on at the university, and he told me of his vision for a school where everything is on one campus. A true academic, he referred me to the Idea Factory, a history of the reasons behind the success of Bell Laboratories, and the benefits that grow from having all parts of a big research operation working together.

“They put all the labs on a single corridor — they all had to mingle,” he said.

Roscoe explained that it benefits all disciplines to be interacting with the others. The scientists and the artists, the liberal arts and the business folks.

I agreed. But I told the good professor that that corridor needs to extend from Dartmouth into New Bedford and Fall River, the struggling urban communities that are home to the largest share of this school’s undergraduates and graduates. 

The university was built to serve the local students and their families and not vice versa.

That’s right. Service. The university does not pursue academic knowledge solely for its own purposes. The public university pursues higher learning to serve the benefit of the public it serves, and in this case Southeastern Massachusetts. 

Roscoe’s a nice guy. I’ve known him a bit for a long time, even lectured at his class once a long while ago. 

I believe, however that Roscoe and many of the UMD academics and especially administrators, suffer from a detachment that is all too common these days, one that separates academics from blue-collar folks, people who live in middle-class suburbs from people who live in working-class cities, and people whose values ultimately end in libertarianism from people whose values end in communitarianism.

The attitudes at UMass Dartmouth toward New Bedford and Fall River — the way they have treated the elected representatives of this region — are not possessed by just a political science professor, who by the way hosted UMass President Marty Meehan at one of his classes a few weeks ago. Roscoe says he has Meehan speak to those classes periodically when he sees the president’s political background in Congress as adding value. 

Far be it, by the way, from the president of the state university system to come to New Bedford while he was in Dartmouth and go over and talk to this city of 100,000 people about the crisis of removing UMD from the downtown. He obviously doesn’t see it as a major problem, even though I understand the mayor has personally appealed to him on it.

No, the out-of-touch attitudes at UMass Dartmouth go right to the top, and they have for a long time.

Here’s what the last chancellor wrote in the 2017 UMD Master Plan, which Roscoe was nice enough to send me.

“While there has been significant investment off campus, our core main-campus academic buildings, campus center, athletic buildings, and housing are outdated,” wrote Robert Johnson, who like Divina Grossman before him, was at UMD for just three years.

This alone tells me the anti-New Bedford attitudes Johnson espoused were deeply embedded at UMD when he arrived. No doubt they also long predated Fuller.

In the 2017 plan, Johnson went on to list renovating Dartmouth campus facilities, replacing freshman housing, expanding the campus center, enhancing visitor experiences, expanding academic and recreational experiences, improving traffic flow and sustainability as the master plan’s priorities.

Not a single word, however, about improving the facilities and operation of the Star Store campus in New Bedford or for that matter the School of Marine Science and Technology in the South End of New Bedford. Faculty at SMAST, by the way, have complained that in recent years there has not even been adequate hiring of professors to sustain research in the region’s principal industry, fishing.

And all this was in 2017. Mayor Mitchell himself has said that Johnson had a vision of closing the Star Store campus. Chancellor Fuller has now realized that vision.

That 2017 Master Plan included all kinds of constructions of new buildings and renovations on the Old Westport Road campus in Dartmouth. An artist’s conception map is of a densely-built out campus including everything from a new administration building to expanded athletic facilities, new science and engineering buildings, a new nursing building, new dormitories and even a second entrance.

Not all of those structures, of course, will ever be built because of financial constraints. They renovated the Science and Engineering building instead of replacing it. But the Master Plan tells you what the university has on its wish list. Included in this master plan is the possibility of relocating the Faunce Corner Road Law School to Old Westport Road and expanding the CVPA building that is already in Dartmouth. Why? When the same report says there is room to expand in New Bedford.

UMass law school is located on Faunce Corner Road, a mile or so on the other side of Route 6 from the Old Westport Road campus. Credit: Jack Spillane / The Bedford Light Credit: Jack Spillane

A photograph of the Star Store in the plan mentions that there is room for that expansion at the New Bedford building but not a single word about goals for it or its other needs, which supposedly amounted to $75 million.

While I’m on the subject of the way the UMass system is run, I’d like to take a minute to wonder about the fact that the present chairman of the UMass board of trustees, Stephen Karam, is following both his father (Robert) and his uncle (James) in the same position!

Even for Massachusetts, that is a level of nepotism and political insidership that is breathtaking. In the entire state of Massachusetts, is there no talent to chair the trustees beyond this one family?

If you wonder why the state university system in Massachusetts is so second-rate compared to other states, just think of who we put on that board. And just think of who we make president of the whole system: Recent presidents have included both Meehan and former state Senate President Billy Bulger, who are both principally political operatives.

You might ask why a chairman like Karam, from Fall River, would be so insensitive to the needs of its own sister city, New Bedford. But you’d need look no further than the depressing attitude of competition and one upmanship between the two cities — both distant from the centers of power in Massachusetts — that have repeatedly made it difficult for them to easily work together.

The dysfunction that has produced arrogant and out-of-touch leadership like Mark Fuller is systemic in the Massachusetts state university system.

You can’t come to any other conclusion than the longstanding desire of many at UMD has been to find a way to remove the CVPA from New Bedford. Once and for all.

Sen. Montigny unfortunately, apparently unknowingly, gave them that opportunity. They quickly took it and have insisted ever since that there is no way to go back. Even though the studios that the MFA graduate and undergraduate students desperately need are just sitting in the Star Store building today.

As I wrote in a previous column, here’s what Sightlines, a UMD consultant hired to study its facilities, wrote way back in 2013.

“UMD will never have enough investment to fix all facilities in the foreseeable future.”

The report went on to recommend that the university “Identify buildings in poor condition and with limited program value.” And close them.

That’s exactly what has happened to the Star Store.

“Leadership Walkway” at UMass Dartmouth. Even though the campus is less than 60 years old, it has dedicated a walkway through its heart dedicated to its chancellors, even ones who served one to three years. Credit: Jack Spillane / The Bedford Light Credit: Jack Spillane

The reason Chancellor Fuller and President Meehan did not want to give a heads-up to Sen. Montigny and Mayor Mitchell about the CVPA campus in New Bedford is that they don’t see the school’s relationship to the region’s cities as a key part of its mission. I’ve had several officials with the university tell me point blank: “We are not an economic development agency,” and refer to “the main campus in Dartmouth” as opposed to the “Dartmouth campus” and the New Bedford, Fall River and crosstown Dartmouth “campuses.”

This “main campus” emphasis almost seems to be an obsession with them. Roscoe told me he’d love to bring the law school — located across Route 6 in the same town of Dartmouth — onto the Westport Road campus.

It’s hard to fathom. Harvard Law School on the north side of Harvard Square in Cambridge is certainly distant from Harvard Business School in Allston, and even farther from Harvard Medical School in the Longwood section of Boston. Both the business and law schools, and even Harvard Stadium, are on the other side of the Charles River. But Harvard doesn’t seem to have any idiosyncratic focus on trying to bring them all together.

Meanwhile, UMass Amherst has had no trouble opening a second 74-acre campus at Mt. Ida College, halfway across the state, and devoting an estimated $75 million just to the purchase!  

Again, if public universities are not part of economic development, then what is their purpose?

Speaking of suspicious numbers, Meehan’s PR flack, John Hoey, recently sent me a press release extolling the “$8.3 billion” that the five-campus UMass system supposedly contributes to the Massachusetts economy, including 40,000 external jobs.

The key phrase in the public relations promotion, however, was this: “… the impact is driven by the purchase of goods and services by the University, and its students, staff, and faculty.”

That’s NOT what I mean when I talk about the need for a public university, located in a suburb between two of the state’s largest post-industrial cities. I’m talking about the MORAL RESPONSIBILITY of this university to help address 50 years of economic neglect in the state’s low-income central cities and the racial and ethnic minorities who principally live there.   

When President Meehan was making his latest Dartmouth visit to lecture on politics at Roscoe’s legislative process class, he evidently arrived early. 

But he didn’t arrive early to take a look at the Star Store, despite the entreaties of the local region for him to help it. No, he took a walk, evidently among other places he just happened to pass around the back of the Dartmouth CVPA building where the sculpture and other artisan classes are located. It’s where a wooden kiln that is not often suitable for use by the ceramics classes sits.

The president of the entire state university system, accompanied by three other suits (including Roscoe) was evidently gazing at the rugged concrete stucco of the Brutalist-style building while his group was trying to discern the difference where the building had been power-washed, and where it had not.

Meehan, like the Dartmouth administration, is evidently at least somewhat interested in the state of the Dartmouth buildings. Not so much in New Bedford.

Spokesman Hoey, when I inquired about the president’s walk, wrote me one of his typically authoritative “strategic communications.”

“I’m told he (Meehan) took a brief stroll around campus with Doug, and stopped to talk to a few people during that stroll. There was no specific purpose, nor should it be described as a ‘tour,’” he wrote.

Of course, John. He was just strolling.

When some of the faculty and students saw the president looking at the CVPA building, word evidently quickly made its way to Provost Ramprasad Balasubramanian and CVPA Dean Lawrence Jenkins, who frantically inquired what he was doing there and wanted to come down. They were too late.

Fiona Marques, a double major in psychology and integrated studio arts, was one of the students who saw the powers that be. She said it looked like they were discussing the Dartmouth building.

Marques says she has found the whole abrupt removal of the New Bedford campus “very unfortunate.”

It was a place for the disparate arts students to together experience something different than the main campus.

“Just the location was a big community builder,” she said.

My goodness. They ought to put one of the students in charge rather than these recalcitrant administrators. They have a better sense of what it’s all about.

Email columnist Jack Spillane at

Join the Conversation


  1. “Just the location was a big community builder,” Marques said.

    What a loss to the city – perpetuated by distant and well-connected admins paid with public dollars.

  2. I am grateful that the New Bedford Area has New Bedford Light and Jack Spillane to hold the “Strategic Communication” semi-pros and their colleagues in the post industrial “Idea Factory” adherents in the U-Mass system feet to the fire.

    I could dive deeper into this public wreckage with choice words and critical analogies but ultimately I want the institution that educated scores of my family and friends to succeed.

    Regrettably there is little leadership in the region or on Beacon Hill with the capacity or willingness to seize control of this disaster.

  3. A piece of this story is still missing. I repeat my request that NBL investigate the CVPA visual arts enrollment history in recent decades. Yes, the current students are being screwed, but dwindling interest in visual arts programs, a national trend, must be part of the story. The CVPA visual arts programs are a shadow of what they were when the Star Store campus opened. The wood program is gone. The sculpture program was consolidated back to the main campus two years ago (did anyone notice?). The music and graphics design faculty in the CVPA now outnumber the visual arts faculty by about 8 to 1. The reason for these changes must be part of the story. When will they be addressed?

    1. The dwindling number of students is due to poor admissions recruiting. Student enrollment in the classic visual and performing arts has been on the rise, but not at UMDThat’s not the fault of art, but of a university uninterested in encouraging talented art students from New England and across the nation to attend.

      1. I am a recent graduate of UMass Dartmouth’s MFA program and taught several undergraduate courses. Every semester I had multiple students tell me that they felt they had been duped by a bait and switch scheme because the catalog still shows that they offer jewelry and other defunct programming but in reality- they don’t offer it bc they never hired new professors to replace the ones that retired. So, no it’s not that the students aren’t interested- they are! But the university did nothing to nourish the program. There also is little to no recruiting occurring for the undergraduate arts department. So many high school students don’t know that UMass Dartmouth has/had a wonderful arts program. Not only have the students been discarded, but so have the faculty. It’s so disheartening to know that the level of talent in the visual arts faculty is truly top notch. The professors all exhibit at top museums and galleries around the world. Yet, the administration remains obtuse in their understanding of what they have done and lost.

  4. They have a campus in Dartmouth – no need for another one in an old department store. If New Bedford wants to renovate their 1940’s “downtown”, they should pay for it – with a $.25 a pound landing fee for scallops.

    1. They have been renovating downtown…for the last forty years and the Star Store art school was the capstone piece of that renovation, encouraging all kinds of new investment and making the downtown a regional entertainment, culinary and cultural destination. There’s no rule saying a university should only have one campus.

  5. “…corporate wanna-be “strategic communications” team.”

    No one at the university will ever admit what they know to be true: UMD has a talent for hiring so-called ‘leaders’ who are nothing more than carpetbaggers that see UMD only as a resume-padder, another rail stop, another springboard on the way to something greater in their career path. Chancellor Johnson was the epitome of this; Fuller is just the next pretender standing in line, no doubt farming his resume out already to other institutions.

    Meehan certainly is the rotted core of all of this. Witness the recent additions of dormitories at the UMass Boston campus. If ever there was a campus constructed solely for the local population as an access point to higher education, this was the place. It was in their charter and was preserved to maintain that mission in years past. That is now no longer its purpose.

    Meehan, his administrative hacks, and collective of pols have always suffered from higher education inferiority complex. They strung out on delusions of grandeur, hoping to be in the same league with the UMichigan, UCal, UMaryland, etc., when in fact they’re not and most likely won’t ever be regarded as so.

    The name ’ZooMass’ is still out there and won’t go away.

  6. I was a student at Star Store from 2016 to 2019. In my opinion, the the school was never really engaged with the community in New Bedford at all. There were never any initiatives by the school or faculty to work with the folks who lived there. As a student, what was cool about the Star Store space was that there were old traditional processes, some outmoded but definitely great to explore for artists. However, lack of funding from the school for the CVPA was always a big problem. There were no modern facilities at Star. The IMAC computers were so old that they were unusable. Also, the administrative issues were almost incomprehensible because they had a weird hybrid of the old Swain school programming mixed with the UMass admin., offering both 2 and 3 year grad programs. All in all, my experience there was okay but it should be noted that the CVPA always seemed last to receive funds and always seemed to have to function on a shoe string budget. I believe the arts are as important as the sciences in peoples lives, and need to be valued with the same respect and financing. For artists entering the job market, they need up to date technology and skills to compete in a quickly changing world.

  7. As characterized by Anon, the student, funding to the Star Store campus Art programs has waned for many many years, thus causing the self fulfilling prophecy that enrollment is waning as well. State and local politicians and university administrators have an opportunity here and now to create the program that they always gave lip service to in the past. Programming that involves the community is the least expensive and most most beneficial expenditure in its goals and results. Restoration of the varied arts programs at the New Bedford campus would be a win win for all. As Spillane points out, the separation of campuses is the lamest excuse for the closing. It is clearly because of a complete lack of support for the Arts. In a society that will be entirely driven by creativity in the future, (rather than in manufacturing in the past) this is as short sighted as they can get.

    I am a graduate of UMass Boston Arts Department, because as a resident of the area I didn’t even know what UMD had to offer. Once I did find out, the Star Store campus was my regular connection to the Arts and to the university. As a regular patron of the student exhibitions, it boosted my pride in the Massachusetts university system, which I shared regularly . The Dartmouth campus is a foreboding concrete giant that eschews visitation of any kind. The Star Store was the hope for community connection, and could still become that beacon if Marty Meehan had the desire.

  8. Great article. Great insight. Boston pols and local entitles have always held their collective noses at New Bedford. Nothing new. The state college system, UMD no exception, is full of political appointees. Same with some faculty, deans and other administrators.

    And so it goes….

  9. Jack Spillane — Excellent article. I think there’s more to the story. I am a 1973 graduate of the fine arts dept. at SMU and a retired, long time employee. I was one of the local students who couldn’t afford to go anywhere else for college & the first in my family to attend college. There is an extended history of underfunding the CVPA college and its predecessor, the College of Fine & Applied Art.

    I was recently on campus for a luncheon and saw that art students were using a room in the building adjacent to the campus center as a studio. It seemed crowded for the number of students working there. I also heard a rumor that the Textile Design department may be eliminated at some point in the future. If you remember recent history, the campus admins were going to eliminate the music dept. just a few years ago. If the administration keeps up this trend, the campus won’t qualify for university status anymore. It seems that the humanities and arts always suffer more when there are budget problems.

  10. The lawyer in me, and the New Bedford Lifetime home spirit in me, and my lifelong distrust for the powers that be, and my inclination to expose them all in a courtroom, given the fact that there are so many inconsistencies, and questions, as to how all of this came about make me believe that all the guilty bastards should be challenged in an appropriate lawsuit by those who have been most directly harmed, i.e. the students via a class action, hopefully with the support of an energetic pro bono group of Boston and New Bedford, litigation lawyers. Indeed, my sense is that the affected students might very well hold the Commonwealth liable for the actions of its officials, by way of actual, or implied breaches of duties and contracts that have caused them substantial damage.
    Philip N Beauregard

  11. Wow just cannot get a fair shake today students pay a lot of money to learn and the fat cats spend spend spend politician blind side you ll never learn trains are coming ho ho you wonder bye

  12. I was a MFA grad in their Program in Artistry, from 1990 to 1993. It was a perfect fit for me, I loved being in their Program in Artistry and I specifically chose this school for my MFA. I am heartbroken that the Program in Artistry is gone. I actually went to Southeastern Mass University, and while I was in my first year, SMU went bankrupt, so the UM system took over and renamed it UMD. Most of us in the Program in Artistry was in this 1895 weaving school on Purchase St – we had all kinds of adventures, from chasing pigeons out of the 3rd floor, a bizarre floor plan for each floor, but I loved it. I never really got to see the Star Store and the Metals Dept, which I regret. I’m very disappointed that UMD has gone astray, lost it’s way. I have been adjunct faculty for other colleges, and all I can say, many colleges are a scam – it’s all about the money. I will never work for a college if I can.

  13. Well they’re circling the horses. Next comes trench warfare. Of course Fuller has gone silent. Every excuse he has preferred has been exposed as horse feathers and he can’t very well backtrack. Once the heat becomes uncomfortable for Meehan he will undoubtedly throw his Minister of Propaganda Fuller under the bus.

  14. Jack, I’m glad you continue to press on this issue. But is Doug Roscoe really the only faculty member you have spoken to? Or is he the only one willing to speak on the record?

  15. Jack Spillane continues his exposure of the UMD administration’s bungled abandonment of New Bedford’s downtown. Utilizing the reporting of his fellow journalist, Colin Hogan, Spillane recounts the institutional lies about Star Store’s condition. Claims of $30 million, $50 million or $75 million in deferred maintenance costs were dubious if not laughable when they were first uttered. The New Bedford Light puts those falsehoods to a well deserved rest.

    Spillane also spotlights UMD’s latest claim, namely that the Star Store would cost $1 million yearly to operate as a school. Why would anyone believe this number in light of the many prevarications we’ve heard from UMD since August?

    Though there is a typical absence of written evidence from UMD to bolster its cost claims, there is basic information suggesting a number far less than $1 million annually. We can gauge the veracity of this claim by looking at professional operating cost estimations.

    American School & University, a national magazine which focuses on school design, construction and maintenance issues, completed its 38th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Colleges back in 2009. Their survey included all two and four years colleges and resulted in a sq.ft. operating cost of $7.70/sq.ft. in 2023 dollars. The Star Store is 86,274 sq. ft. resulting in a $664,310 estimated expense.

    Will parking, food and shuttle service raise the cost to $1 million? It’s not clear whether administrators even approached the city for assistance. An underutilized city parking garage is across the street from Star Store. SRTA runs busses back and forth to Dartmouth. Does UMD want to just complain about problems or does it want to solve them?

    Spillane exposes the academic arrogance of an administration and faculty who see no need to maintain ties to two of the state’s most depressed urban areas. With this line of inquiry Spillane raises existential questions about UMD’s role in Southeastern Massachusetts.

    He encounters professors who object to a multi-locational campus, oblivious to the fact that premier universities have those very arrangements.

    Incredibly, the university preaches fiscal restraint for Star Store while planning for a very expensive relocation of the perfectly functional Law School from Faunce Corner Rd to the main campus.

    But more troubling are his encounters with professors who deny any UMD role in economic development. Perhaps they should be required to write the UMass and UMD vision and goals statement 500 times on a white board:

    “The University shall continue to promote the economic development of the state AND ITS REGIONS.

    “The University shall encourage each of its five campuses to pursue with distinction their respective strengths AND STRIVE TO SERVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF THEIR COMMUNITIES”

    (As an aside it can be argued that the combined BU artisan and Swain School curriculas were unique and noteworthy in the art field and constituted a real UMD strength whose reputation has since been severely sullied by Star Store’s abandonment.)

    Specifically, UMass Dartmouth’s vision is thus: ” The university serves as an intellectual catalyst for economic, social and cultural transformation on…A REGIONAL SCALE”

    At the heart of the matter is a local University that has arrogantly lost its way while forgetting, or worse, willfully denying its vision. Can President Meehan continue countenancing dishonest, tone deaf and destructive actions that alienate whole segments of public support on the South Coast?

    1. Professors? He only names one, who’s “a first-team player.” Sounds like another way of saying “cozy with Meehan.”

  16. Sorry Jack, I must take the Dark Side of the Force on this one! If you drive on the campus of UMD, the core environment looks like the day they opened. All assets are organized and consolidated. Henceforth, lower costs per student! The Star Store was a pipe dream, especially for Montigny! It would be his crowning achievement proving he could do something tangible for his public. Here is an antiquated building, away from the campus core and absolutely poor student parking and accessibility, which adds to student costs, longterm! It was easy to say, here is a satellite campus! Doing it was not easy! And when it was done, you essentially put lipstick on a pig, along with higher costs per art student. Sure it was great for the city, it filled a hole. But the city had nothing to do with IT! That was another issue which added to the formula of failure! Involving a third party real estate entrepreneur was another. Star Store was a patchwork quilt with poor stitching between the patches! I realize Chancelors get fatter contracts based on their budgets. The Star Store would have been like a cut artery on the budget. Art students are motivated by their art! They don’t need a Star Store for inspiration, just a good clean facility. Remember Swain School, one story! Time to let it go! Maybe Montigny can use his campaign war chest in coming up with another battle for his war!

    1. Well Howie, you certainly sound like a certain “journalist” of the same name from that second rate tabloid out of Boston and for whom New Bedford is a well known festering sore. Far from a pipe dream, the Star Store was a win-win success story. As a building, nothing remains of the old Star store except the facade and steel. The rest was new retrofitted construction and in better shape that the 50+ year old crumbling concrete of the Dartmouth campus. Each one of those buildings will eventually have to close one by one and be rebuilt. The so mentioned “vast cost” of running the Star Store has been adequately debunked. I would also mention that each and every inner city college campus has parking issues that do not seem to prevent or hinder students from reaching their classes in the slightest.

  17. One of Mr. Spillane’s sub themes should be looked into: that being possible hidden agendas of Chairman Karam. Karam is a great big noise in Fall River and it’s no stretch of the imagination to suspect he would resent New Bedford’s downtown renaissance outpacing that of his city’s and thus contrive to grease New Bedford’s wheels. It’s high time the chairmanship be split into co-chairs with equal authority given both cities.

  18. The CVPA has been hurting for a long time. Even back in 2010 I remember hearing their plan to merge certain arts programs together in an effort to make numbers sound better. I get it, the numbers are probably not what they wanted, but with this disaster they have completely forfeited the chances of future interest. The lack of disrespect is memorable for many years, and that will likely cost them more in the long run. It really comes down to the horrible timing and complete lack of effort to find common ground after the fact. I understand if there were financial limitations but nonetheless I’m sure they were aware of these issues long before the sudden time of the announcement. With inflation, they can throw around whatever numbers they want, so I suppose that they used that to their advantage with that ridiculous 75M estimate. I hope they are able to find a better solution.

  19. — An issue is accountability: a previous report stated $63M was spent on the Star Store over the 23 years of leasing, which seems hugely excessive. And now an additional many millions needs to be spent? An audit must be demanded. UMD and state leadership need to see that they will be held accountable for their choices.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *