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OPM gives Pfizer building a go-ahead
(March 22, 1999)

The Office of Policy and Management, after reviewing information about the proposed Pfizer Center of Excellence for Vaccine Research for compliance with the state's Environmental Policy Act, has determined that the structure will have no significant environmental impact, and construction may begin later this spring.

The facility will be located in the Horsebarn Hill area. The site originally proposed has been moved slightly, in response to concerns expressed by members of the community.

In the materials submitted for OPM's review, University officials conclude that the proposed site will have no impact on historic structures. They also state that great effort has been made to minimize the impact of the proposed facility on significant scenic vistas from the adjacent hilltops.

"Short of adopting a 'no build' position for this area of the campus, which is of great importance to the University's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, we believe the proposed site plan and facility, as modified, fairly balances the Conservation Commission's policy goals and the Mansfield plan of development," says George Kraus, director of design, planning and construction management, in a memo to OPM.

The University has agreed to continue discussions with OPM to address the need for a state policy for the protection of watershed and prime agricultural areas.

Additional permits are now being sought from the Department of Environmental Protection. Once all the relevant permission is gained, Kraus says, construction could begin this spring.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu