Roxbury, MA Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), a private non-profit college offering affordable education for people seeking technical careers, purchased a new campus location in the Dudley Sq. neighborhood. Located at 1011 Harrison Ave. (the former site of the Harrison Supply Co.), the 55,000 s/f property will be transformed into a multi-story facility complete with an advanced manufacturing center and walk-in optical shop, among other innovative learning environments and community resources. The new campus will support BFIT’s growing student population and offer expanded educational programs designed to meet the increasingly complex needs of in-demand technical jobs of the future.
“We are thrilled to take this step to advance BFIT’s mission of empowering Boston’s young people with the skills and opportunities to elevate their lives,” said Anthony Benoit, president of Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. “Our students and faculty deserve an innovative and energetic space. Rather than renovate our old buildings, it just made sense to start from scratch and build a new campus where our students can thrive, and our professors can do their best work. With this new facility, our 111-year-old institution is primed for the next century of technical education, and we look forward to contributing to the economic empowerment of this vital Boston neighborhood.”
Fast Facts About BFIT
- More than 20% year-over-year increase in student enrollment since 2013
- Several new technology programs added since 2015, include Construction Management, Electrical Engineering and Health Information Technology
- 53% of enrollment of first-generation college students
- Students of color account for 70% of enrollment
- 85% five-year average job placement rate for graduates (full-time, in field)
With the move to Dudley Sq., BFIT students, faculty and employees will have centralized access to public transportation, including MBTA buses, orange line stops at Ruggles and Roxbury Crossing and commuter rail services into Ruggles and Newmarket station stops. In addition, BFIT will join the ranks of Boston Public Schools headquartered in the Bruce Bolling Building, Morgan Memorial Goodwill and the Urban League of Massachusetts (among many others) as a welcomed partner and community anchor in one of Boston’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. Several key community and civic leaders share their thoughts:
Dana Brown, co-principal, culture, operations, Partnerships at Dearborn STEM Academy said “The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s move to the Roxbury community conveys an ‘all in’ message towards the positive changes in infrastructure and programming coming to this neighborhood. As longtime partners with BFIT, their proximity and new space will allow for better and deeper opportunities for all Dearborn Academy students, staff, and external partners to learn from and collaborate with the college on mentoring programs, grant applications, and authentic learning experiences for students.”
Kathy Kottaridis, executive director at Historic Boston, Inc. said “Historic Boston is so pleased to see a venerable Boston institution so devoted to workforce training is coming to Dudley Square. Benjamin Franklin Institute’s presence here sends a message that it wants to be relevant to the folks who will most welcome the opportunities the college brings. We are so pleased that we’ll be able to call BFIT our new next-door neighbor.”
Bing Broderick, executive director at Haley House said “Haley House is pleased to welcome Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology to the Dudley neighborhood of Roxbury. With our own South End base, we have been longtime allies with BFIT, and our Social Justice missions are closely aligned. We are excited for the valuable opportunities that BFIT will bring to the residents of Roxbury and the surrounding areas, and we look forward to working together to build community."
Jeanne Pinado, CEO at Madison Park Development Corp. said “On behalf of Madison Park Development and our Dudley Square community, I would like to happily welcome Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology to the neighborhood. BFIT has a long and successful history of providing high quality technical training to both first generation students and people of color, and its move to Dudley Square will expand access and opportunities for Roxbury residents. We look forward to the college becoming an institutional anchor offering economic development and job skills to this diverse community and are excited to learn more about opportunities to collaborate.”
Valerie Roberson, president at Roxbury Community College said “Roxbury Community College was pleased to hear about Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s move to Dudley Square. We have partnered on program development in the past, and now that BFITs campus will be that much closer to ours, we look forward to greater collaboration between our institutions to provide the people of Roxbury and throughout Boston the opportunity to live and work in the communities they grew up in.”
While BFIT is targeting the fall semester of 2021 for its move to the new campus, a date for ground-breaking at the Harrison Avenue site has yet to be determined. BFIT’s existing campus in Boston’s South End will remain operational throughout construction. “The move is of course very exciting; however, as we work toward this tremendous milestone in our college’s already rich history, our priorities remain focused on continuing to provide the best environment for our students and faculty,” said Benoit.
For progress updates on BFITs new campus visit www.bfit.edu/movetoroxbury
About Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
Founded in 1908 in Boston, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is one of New England’s oldest colleges of technology. Started with a bequest from Benjamin Franklin and a matching gift from Andrew Carnegie, the private non-profit college offers an affordable education for people seeking technical careers. BFIT is an affordable, urban college serving the Boston region and committed to student success and career readiness in technology fields. Through personalized support, hands-on learning, and industry-informed curricula, BFIT prepares graduates for work, life-long learning, and citizenship. For more information, please go to www.bfit.edu.