Groundbreaking Ceremony Marks Beginning of Construction on College’s New Academic Building [View the Video and the Construction Photo Album!]
Posted September 8, 2009
A groundbreaking ceremony September 15 celebrated the official launch of the largest and most ambitious building project in the College’s 90-year history: a 126,000 square foot academic building to house the College’s programs in pharmacy, biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. View the video of the ceremony, along with the photo album/slide show of the building construction.
Speaking during ceremony, College president Anthony S. Caprio hailed the project as an example of the College acting boldly to chart the next phase of its growth. “The collective enthusiasm for this project and for the bright future of this College is remarkable,” said Caprio. “Once more, we are at an important time in our history.”
The new building will be constructed along Wilbraham Road adjacent to Emerson Hall, the first building constructed on the current campus. Plans call for 126,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and offices spread over four floors, providing a highly functional, attractive learning environment. Along with academic programs in pharmacy, biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology, the complex will house the College’s Health Services facilities. The building will cost an estimated $40 million, and should be complete by fall of 2011.
The additional space will allow Western New England College to enhance and expand its academic programs. Initiatives specified in the College’s Strategic Plan include the creation of a new School of Pharmacy, pending appropriate approvals. “We researched national workforce needs and identified that the significant shortage of pharmacists presented an opportunity for the College to build on its long history and considerable experience with pre-pharmacy undergraduate education by expanding into a professional-level program in Pharmacy,” said Jerry A. Hirsch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Hirsch added that the presence of pharmacy, science, and psychology programs under one roof will foster interdisciplinary scholarly activity.
“As an educational community and a regional resource, we take seriously our responsibility to remain vital to the present while continuously improving for the future,” said Kevin S. Delbridge, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.
Delbridge noted that ongoing construction projects are adding $60 million and more than 200 jobs to the region’s economy, while implementation of the College’s strategic plan for 2009-2018 will permanently add more than $10 million annually to economy in the Knowledge Corridor comprised of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hartford counties. “The College actively supports the economic growth of our region, and profoundly influences the lives of all who learn, work, and live here, whether within or beyond our campus.”
Well over a year of planning has gone into the facility, which will incorporate “green” building concepts to minimize its impact on the environment. The architectural firm for the project is Tessier Associates of Springfield, while Fontaine Brothers of Springfield will serve as construction manager. Financing for the project has been secured through a consortium of local banks.
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