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NANTUCKET, MA-The University of Massachusetts is selling 110 acres of land on Nantucket Harbor to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation for $20 million. NCF plans to preserve the property and will continue to allow UMass scientists, students and faculty to use the property for research and educational activities.

The University plans to use $12 million of the sale proceeds to support endowed environmental science faculty positions at its Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses. The remaining $8 million will endow a “University Excellence Fund” that will advance teaching and research across the five-campus system. The property is currently occupied by the University of Massachusetts Field Station, which conducts a variety of research and teaching activities.

The university and NCF began discussing this transaction after the university considered selling the property as part of its ongoing efforts to increase non-state revenue. UMass says it received other unsolicited offers, but it preferred selling the property to an organization that would protect the property from development and allow UMass to continue its teaching and research activities on the site.

NCF wanted to acquire the property to eliminate the risk that UMass might sell the property to another buyer who would maximize its potential through development. The deal needs legislative approval before it can be finalized.

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