HCC Campus Center Begins $43.5 Million Renovation
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) is about to embark on a two-year, $43.5 million renovation project that will transform the look, feel, and organization of the campus. The HCC Campus Center is scheduled to close Feb. 3, 2017, and construction will begin soon after. When it reopens in 2019, college officials say, the building will be a place that truly lives up to its name. Originally known as G Building, the sloping, three-story concrete structure sits in the middle of the campus between an intermittent stream choked with invasive plants and the HCC Courtyard. Since it opened in 1980, the Campus Center has been plagued by water leaks. Projects that would have waterproofed the building have been delayed since at least 2008. “The main impetus for this is to get the building watertight,” said interim HCC President Bill Fogarty. “Then we also wanted to do things that will improve the operation of the building and make it a real campus center.” The state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance is in charge of the project. Walsh Brothers Construction of Boston has been hired as the general contractor. The state has already allocated $8 million for the current fiscal year to begin the project, with the remainder of the funding to follow, Fogarty said. The key features of the project include squaring off the building’s sloping façade and giving the entire building given a new exterior shell that will make it both weathertight and energy-efficient. The squaring off and the addition of large windows on its eastern side will give the building a look that complements the adjacent Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development, which opened in 2003. About 9,000 square feet of space will be added to the current 58,727. A glass atrium will be added to the west side of the building, covering a set of double stairs that descend from the lower courtyard into an area known as the ‘pit’ that now serves as the main entrance to the food court and cafeteria. On the east side of the building, the open balcony on the second floor will be enclosed, adding extra interior space to the student dining area. The first floor of the Campus Center, on the side facing Homestead Avenue, will become the new ‘front door’ to the campus, accessed by a bridge to be built over a restored Tannery Brook. HCC Admissions, Assessment Services (college placement testing), and the ACT Center (Advising, Career and Transfer Affairs) — now in the Frost Building — will relocate to a new Welcome Center. Admissions will have a dedicated parking lot, and a separate, college-funded project will reconfigure traffic flow, creating a new bus drop in the front of the campus. The Campus Store (formerly the College Bookstore) will move from the first floor to the second floor, on the same level as the food court and cafeteria. The second floor will include programs and departments focused on student engagement, including Student Activities, Student Clubs, and Multicultural Academic Services (MAS), which are being relocated to the building from other parts of the campus.
AIC Awarded Grant from Davis Educational Foundation
SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has been awarded $186,400 over three years in support of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship. The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation, established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Stanton Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc. In an effort to strengthen and bring together student support services in one accessible location on campus, AIC created the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in 2008 with support from Davis Educational Foundation and others. CAS offers a number of student-support programs, including mentoring and advising, a writing program, tutoring, and support for first-generation college students. The AIC Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CETLS) is designed to complement the efforts of CAS by enhancing a vibrant academic culture at AIC. The mission of CETLS is to provide all faculty members with opportunities to achieve and be recognized for teaching excellence, be supported in scholarship, and grow through collaboration and community. When CETLS was created in 2014, a regular schedule of workshops and grants for travel to conferences on teaching and learning were offered to AIC faculty for the first time. CETLS now offers a variety of opportunities for faculty development.
Berkshire Medical Group Joins Berkshire Health Systems
PITTSFIELD — In a move that will help to ensure continued and expanded access to primary care and infectious disease services in the Berkshires, the Berkshire Medical Group has joined the Berkshire Health Systems Physician Practice organization. Berkshire Medical Group, an Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease practice, includes Paula Aucoin, MD, Rebecca Caine, MD, Prakash Darji, MD, Jason Kittler, MD, Michael McInerney, MD, Sharon Rawlings, MD, Amy Cassotta, ANP-BC, Helen Majchrowski, FNP/C, and Wanda Torres, ANP-BC. The practice has been renamed Berkshire Internists of BMC, and will remain at its existing location in the BMC Medical Arts Complex in Pittsfield, with few if any noticeable changes for patients. This partnership helps to stabilize the physician practice and ensure continued and expanded access to critical primary care and infectious disease services. Growing changes in healthcare policy and in the health insurance reimbursement system have challenged the viability of private physician practices. Healthcare systems like BHS are increasingly relied upon to ensure current and future access to critical services for the community by investing in physician practices and ensuring they have the necessary support systems and financial stability and investment to succeed in the long-term. By becoming part of the BHS physician practice group, Berkshire Medical Group can not only continue to serve its patients, but has the enhanced ability to expand through the support of Berkshire Health Systems’ comprehensive physician recruitment program, which has successfully expanded critical patient access to primary care and specialties across the Berkshires.
JGS Lifecare Opens Michael’s Café
LONGMEADOW — JGS Lifecare opened Michael’s Café at the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation on Dec. 12, the first day residents moved into the new rehab center. The kosher café offers classics like grab-and-go sandwiches on rye bread, bagels, baked goods, salads, and soup, as well as specialty items like ‘Converse Street potatoes,’ shakshuka, and slow-simmered corned beef, which will be available on Wednesdays. “We hope it will be a community gathering space for residents, guests, and families to meet, enjoy a meal, and gather with friends,” said Alexis Girhiny, director of Food Services at JGS Lifecare. The kosher café is dedicated to the memory of the late Michael Frankel, who was an outspoken advocate for Project Transformation, an initiative of reimagining and improving how care is delivered across the JGS Lifecare family of services. “Naming the café in his honor is a permanent tribute not only to Frankel’s extraordinary commitment to the care of our elders at the highest standards, but also his vision for JGS Lifecare for generations to come,” said Susan Kimball Halpern, vice president of Philanthropy for JGS Lifecare. The work of several local artists is displayed in the café and throughout the Sosin Center. Artists include Lewis Bryden, Diana Cote, Heidi Coutu, Laura Eden, Peiliang Jin, Cindy Lutz Kornet, Laura Radwell, and Jim Rosenthal.
STCC Honored for Reducing Greenhouse-gas Emissions
SPRINGFIELD — The state named Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) a 2016 Leading by Example Award Winner in the higher-education category for its efforts to advance energy efficiency and sustainability on campus. Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito recently recognized STCC and other state agencies, public colleges, municipalities, and public-sector individuals for their leadership in promoting clean energy and environmental initiatives with the 10th annual Leading by Example Awards. The Leading by Example program — a division of the Department of Energy Resources — coordinates clean energy and environmental opportunities at facilities owned and operated by the Commonwealth. “As a member of the Greater Springfield community, we believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and promote the use of clean energy and sustainable practices,” said Joseph DaSilva, STCC’s vice president of Administration and chief financial officer. “We are proud of the accomplishments we have made so far. We continue to develop and implement new initiatives regularly. All of our initiatives are not only environmentally necessary, but also save us a great deal of money operationally.” According the Department of Energy Resources, STCC was recognized for its progress and creative approach to reducing its carbon footprint. STCC has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions more than 40% percent since 2011. The college is implementing several sustainability efforts, including energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling, and a green building renovation. Highlights of STCC’s clean-energy efforts include upgrading the heating system in fiscal year 2014, saving an estimated $200,000 a year; adding insulation, upgraded windows, and installed LED lights across campus to address efficiency challenges in historic buildings; connecting the curriculum of the Architecture and Building Technology Program to the historic building-renovation project targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certification; switching to single-stream recycling in 2015, and upgrading containers and signage; reducing use of disposable water bottles with six bottle-filling stations on campus; implementing a double-sided printing requirement, reducing paper waste and saving an estimated $14,000 a year in printing costs; and streamlining the campus shuttle route to save fuel and reduce emissions.
WNEU College of Pharmacy Hosts Chinese Pharmacists
SPRINGFIELD — The Western New England University (WNEU) College of Pharmacy recently welcomed six Chinese pharmacists to the university as part of the Pharmacy Education and Clinical Pharmacy Practice Training Program, a partnership with Yale New-Haven Hospital and the Chinese Pharmacological Society – Division of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Research (CPS-TDM). The program allows international pharmacists to spend one month at the WNEU College of Pharmacy to learn about doctor of pharmacy education, and five months at Yale New-Haven Hospital to learn about the practice of pharmacy in the U.S. The program represents a new opportunity for international collaboration at Western New England University, and is managed by Dr. Shusen Sun, director of International Pharmacy Programs and board member of CPS-TDM. The Chinese pharmacists attend College of Pharmacy didactic lectures, case discussions, interactions with students on clinical rotations, and faculty-development seminars. A variety of lectures and topics of discussions are offered, including pharmacy admissions process, accreditation standards and outcome assessment, curricular design, mission and vision development, experiential education, pharmacists as educators, and leadership development in pharmacy practice. The visiting pharmacists also have opportunities to interact with faculty to discuss research and clinical practice.
WNEU School of Law Sweeps ABA Competition
SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNEU) School of Law entered the American Bar Assoc. (ABA) Region 1 Negotiation Competition with three two-person teams this fall. A total of 16 law-school teams from throughout New England and New York competed at the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford. After two days of intense competition, the three WNEU teams finished in first, second, and third place, sweeping the competition. The teams included law students Thomas Holman and Joseph Masse in first place, Kimberly Roche and Matthew Minniefield in second place, and Rachna Khanna and Egzon Beha in third place. “I learned the importance of creative problem solving in negotiations,” Roche said. “Sometimes you have to go beyond typical solutions and find a creative, alternative solution that both clients will accept.” The university teams that placed first and second in the ABA Region 1 competition will go on to compete nationally in Chicago in February. Assisting Professor René Reich-Graefe in coaching the teams were law alumni Sandra San Emeterio, Mark Borenstein, Cara Hale, and Chris Rousseau. “I’m so very proud of all the Western New England students,” San Emeterio said. “My fondest memory of law school is the time I spent on the negotiation team. Best of luck in Chicago, and I hope to get the opportunity to work with you again.” In the 2015 ABA competition, the School of Law team of Rousseau and Emily Dubuc went on to compete in the finals in San Diego.
Reap Talks Leadership with Young Professionals
CHICOPEE — Elms College hosted a leadership luncheon for the Young Professional Society (YPS) of Greater Springfield on Dec. 7. The keynote speaker at the event was the college’s president, Mary Reap. In her lecture, Reap discussed the importance of recognizing opportunities, even unexpected or perhaps at-first unwelcome ones, and taking advantage of them to further one’s career goals. She also talked about developing diplomacy and perseverance, banishing self-doubt, and learning from mistakes. YPS is a group of young professionals who work and live in Western Mass., particularly around the Greater Springfield area, bringing them together to exchange ideas, share common interests, and become the Pioneer Valley’s leaders of tomorrow. The group aims to represent the region’s corporate, nonprofit, and cultural interests by engaging a younger demographic in several distinct areas, including business and career development, networking, cultural and community involvement, educational opportunities, volunteerism, and recreational and social activities. The lunch series, formerly called the CEO Luncheon Series, is meant to highlight prominent local business owners who are successfully working in the city.
HCC Offers Free Culinary-hospitality Training to the Unemployed
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) is using a $190,000 grant from the state’s Workforce Competitive Trust Fund to train unemployed and underemployed people for new jobs in the culinary and hospitality industry. The program is free to participants, who must commit to attend classes every day for nine weeks, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The course teaches them fundamental culinary skills and exposes them to a wide variety of careers in hospitality, including hotel operations. “It’s a hands-on opportunity to try out a lot of things and find out what their interests and aptitudes are,” said Kermit Dunkelberg, HCC’s assistant vice president of Adult Basic Education and Workforce Development. “Another key part of the program is that, when it ends, they have to let us help them find a job.” The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced the grant earlier this year. Commonwealth Corp., a quasi-public state agency that fosters partnerships between industry, education, and workforce organizations, administers the Workforce Competitive Trust Fund. Students graduate from the program with four key credentials: ServSafe and OSHA-10 certifications, which show they have been trained in safe food handling and workplace safety; TIPS certification, which allows them to serve alcohol; and a National Career Readiness certification, which demonstrates they possess fundamental workplace skills. The first cohort of students started in October and will celebrate their graduation today, Dec. 15, as they prepare and serve a noontime meal for family and friends at Food 101 Bar & Bistro in South Hadley. The restaurant is owned by chef Alan Anischik, who serves as the main instructor for the program. Most of the classes meet at Dean Technical High School in Holyoke. Last week, in preparation for the graduation celebration, the class met at Food 101. In addition to cooking techniques, the program offers lessons in customer-service etiquette, workplace communication, conflict resolution, product purchasing and receiving, and food and wine pairing. During the course, students had the opportunity to attend a job seminar with representatives from MGM Resorts to learn about future employment opportunities at the casino now under construction in Springfield. They also participated in speed interviews with local employers from the restaurant and hotel industry. The next program cohort begins March 23. Anyone interested should contact Milissa Daniels at (413) 552-2042.