BRIDGEPORT NEWS, Thursday, October 02, 2008

Housatonic Community College celebrates expansion with Rell visit, open house

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $55 million addition and renovations at Housatonic Community College (HCC) will be attended by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and other dignitaries on Oct. 7.

Rell will be joined by state Public Works Commissioner Raeanne V. Curtis, HCC President Anita Gliniecki, Mayor Bill Finch and other officials in the college’s courtyard at the front of the new facility, Beacon Hall, which formerly was the Sears Building.

The college will follow up the ribbon-cutting event with an open house for the public Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the new building. Free workshops, building tours, live entertainment and light refreshments will be offered.

The Housatonic expansion project has doubled the size of the state-supported, two-year college’s downtown campus.

“It is gratifying to know,” Rell said, “our efforts have created a state-of-the-art learning environment that will draw increased numbers of students. This will benefit them, and in turn, our state’s economy.”

Gliniecki said HCC students and staff are excited about the expanded campus. “Students thoroughly enjoy having the opportunity to take classes previously not available due to the lack of classroom space,” Gliniecki said.

“Students come to classes early because now there are multiple study areas that they can use individually or to meet with classmates for group study,” she said.

The 174,500 square feet of new and renovated space houses 30 classrooms, 10 computer classrooms, computer repair and networking rooms, early childhood education facilities, labs for foreign languages and English as a Second Language, and an academic department and faculty offices.

Also included are a new college bookstore; wellness center for aerobics, cardio and dance; satellite cafeteria, and a 500-seat event center.

Housatonic is one of the fastest growing community colleges in the nation. The college has 5,081 students, representing a 13.8% increase from the previous year and a 92% increase from 12 years ago, just before HCC moved out of its old East Side location.