October 22nd, Housatonic Community College (HCC) President Paul Broadie II led the official celebration of the new Lafayette Hall expansion opening with a ribbon-cutting event attended by CSCU President Mark Ojakian, State Senator Marilyn Moore, State Representative Steven Stafstrom, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, Amenta Emma Architects and members of the HCC Foundation, faculty, staff and students. The $47M project added 47,000 square feet of new LEED® Silver Certified classrooms, studios, labs and offices along with 28,500 square feet in renovations to adjacent spaces on the Bridgeport campus.
“I am proud to welcome the community into the new Lafayette Hall expansion,” said Broadie. “As a community college, our primary mission is to offer access and opportunity without barriers and restrictions. This expansion and the renovations have allowed us to create a one stop to centralize student services designed to best serve our students, it has allowed us to develop innovative state of the art technology rich science and art facilities, this expansion project it has allowed us to expand academic support services, transform our library, grow our manufacturing program, and infuse the campus with industry specific equipment allowing us to enrich the student learning experience and best prepare our students for success. Today we gather to celebrate the 37 transformational changes that will benefit Housatonic students for generations to come."
Construction of the four-story Lafayette Hall expansion project started in 2015 after a collaborative process that assessed students’ needs, programmatic enhancements and growth potential. Amenta Emma Architects worked closely with CSCU and HCC officials, guided by the college’s Master Plan, to design a welcoming space with “a proud new persona in downtown Bridgeport” that radically changed the college’s relationship to the street and the city’s urban fabric.
“We've had a busy couple of weeks, where so many projects in our institutions are coming online, and it's happening because of all the hard work of everyone in this room and the leadership demonstrated by President Broadie,” said CSCU President Mark Ojakian, “The construction for this project began just over two years ago. Now our students will have a new art space, a new biology lab, a new area where they can explore and learn. And they deserve it. They deserve it and more because our alumni are the backbone of our states economy. This job is truly an honor for me. It's an honor for me watch and interact and learn from our future leaders. CSCU is a path to the future our students deserve.”
“Housatonic Community College understands the importance of first impressions,” said Marc Moura, of Amenta Emma Architects. “Throughout the interior, views back to the city highlight the importance of urban context and the college’s relationship to the community it serves.”
During tours of the new expansion student guides proudly showed off the newest wing of their college campus. Upon entering the new Lafayette Hall, they entered a gallery like concourse with an open Welcome Center that sports inspirational words of encouragement as a backdrop to an open space where new students receive advice and answers to their questions. “We have computers available to help students register for classes with staff members nearby to assist students,” explained Caroline Steadham, president of the HCC Student Senate. “We have a brand new testing center, training spaces, art studios, and science laboratories. This ensures that students are studying in technology-rich classrooms and will be more competitive applicants in the job market and in transferring colleges because of the skills acquired in these new facilities.”
Related student enrollment spaces are located along a light-filled public concourse that also serves as the primary access point to the College’s renowned public art museum and provides a backdrop for showcasing gems from its collection, which include works by Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Miro Chagall, Rodin, Klimt and Rauchenburg.
The second, third and fourth floors of Lafayette Hall house the Art department which includes studio classrooms, computer animation and photography labs, a sculpture studio and classrooms for Art Therapy and Industrial Design studios. A convenient glass-walled walkway ushers students from the parking garage to the second floor concourse, where students study, read and relax between classes in bright and friendly gathering and multipurpose spaces. Additional enhancements include multi-media biology labs, chemistry, physics and engineering labs, a surgical simulation suite dedicated to the new surgical technology program, and a medical assisting lab. Renovations to the college library, mathematics and science classrooms and the 7,000 square foot manufacturing center.
“These enhancements make an impact. They provide Housatonic Community College students with the advantage of being fully prepared to enter the workforce when they graduate,” President Broadie added. “They will be familiar with the latest technology and have support and experience to pursue a successful career. That is what we are all about.”
For more information about Housatonic Community College and the Lafayette Hall Expansion project, visitwww.housatonic.edu