Gov. Charlie Baker to help HCC celebrate Campus Center grand opening Feb. 28
Holyoke Community College will welcome Gov. Charlie Baker and other state and local officials on Friday, Feb. 28, for the grand opening celebration of its newly renovated Campus Center.
The event begins at 2 p.m. for tours, remarks, ribbon-cutting, food and a variety of student-led activities on all three floors of the facility, which was closed for two years during a $43.5 million, top-to-bottom reconstruction and expansion.
Other expected guests include Patricia Marshall, deputy commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success at the Dept. of Higher Education; Holyoke mayor Alex Morse; state Sen. Jo Comerford of Northampton; Rep. Aaron Vega of Holyoke; Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton; Rep. Daniel Carey of Easthampton; Rep. Brian Ashe of Longmeadow; and Rep. Angelo Puppolo of Springfield.
A short speaking program in the second floor dining area will begin at 2:30 p.m. with remarks from Gov. Baker; state Secretary of Education Jim Peyser; HCC President Christina Royal; and Maiv Lee-Ruiz, a nursing student and New Student Orientation leader from Holyoke.
Before and after the speeches, guests will be invited to sample food prepared by HCC Dining Services/Aramark; listen to live music from an HCC student quartet; play dominoes with students in El Centro (home to HCC's Multicultural Academic Services program); watch eSports students in action on a virtual playing field; buy HCC gear in the College Store; and visit HCC's new Student Engagement area to talk to students representing student clubs and other campus activities.
The Campus Center first opened in 1978 and had been plagued by insidious leaks and water damage for decades before it was closed for reconstruction in 2017. The lower floors of the building were essentially gutted down to its concrete foundation and supports before being rebuilt. It reopened for the start of the fall 2019 semester while construction crews continued the finish work.
Key parts of the project included adding about 9,000 square feet to the 57,000 building, enclosing an external walkway on the second floor to expand the dining area, squaring off the sloping façade and encapsulating the entire building to make it water tight, adding an atrium entrance off the HCC Courtyard on the west side and a new bridge over Tannery Brook that leads from a dedicated visitors parking lot to a new first-floor welcome center, where visitors and students will now find easier access to HCC's offices of Admissions, Advising, Careers, Transfer and Testing.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO