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The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is planning to move. School leaders announced Tuesday that the private college is putting the South End campus building on the market, and looking for another location in Boston to build a modern campus.
College president Anthony Benoit said school leaders had been thinking about the building for a number of years.
"We have a campus now that has been a wonderful place, but we are aware of its limitations," Benoit said. "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 state 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 said in a statement. The school has an endowment around $4 million.
In an interview, he said that the sale of the South End property "will more than finance" the new campus, but would not comment on what that sale price might be. Benoit even expects to place some proceeds from the sale into the college endowment. He hopes the college will be open in the new location in three years.
Benjamin Franklin has 600 undergraduate students -- 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, while many private colleges have had declining enrollment. Benoit said 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.
It also partners with Boston Public Schools on a dual enrollment program called Early Access to College. Students can enroll at Benjamin Franklin in their senior year of high school, working to get their high school degree and an associates degree with only one additional year of schooling.
This article was originally published on January 29, 2019.
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