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Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology plans to sell its campus and relocate elsewhere in Boston.

Small college in Boston plans to sell campus building, relocate

Jan. 30, 2019
Officials at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology say selling the building in the city's South End will enable them to build a modern campus elsewhere in the city.

A private college in Boston says it is planning to sell its century-old building in the city's South End that houses its campus.

WBUR Radio reports that officials at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology have announced that it is putting the campus building on the market and looking for another location in Boston to build a modern campus.

"We have a campus now that has been a wonderful place, but we are aware of its limitations," College President Anthony Benoit says. "We would like a place that looks more modern, has laboratories that were built from design rather than retrofitted from existing space."

The move comes as many other private colleges are feeling squeezed. Hampshire College in Amherst announced two weeks ago that it is looking for a "long-term strategic partner." Newbury College in Brookline is planning to close this spring. Last year, Mount Ida College in Newton abruptly closed.

Those closures have sparked the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to take a more active role in monitoring the finances of private colleges in the state.

"Our finances are sound," Benoit says. The school has an endowment around $4 million.

Benoit says the sale of the South End property "will more than finance" the new campus, but he would not speculate on a sale price. He hopes the college will be open in a new location in three years.

Benjamin Franklin has 600 undergraduate student, nearly half of whom are black or Latino. Slightly more than half of the enrolled students are the first in their families to go to college.

Enrollment at the school has grown 22 percent over the last six years. Benoit says the college is "absolutely looking to expand," with plans to add another 200 students over the next four years.

The college focuses on technical fields such as construction management, automotive technology, electrical engineering and technology business and management.

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