Daily News

Governor to Help Celebrate Grand Opening of HCC Campus Center Today

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will welcome Gov. Charlie Baker and other state and local officials today, Feb. 28, for the grand-opening celebration of its Campus Center, following a two-year, $43.5 million, top-to-bottom renovation and expansion.

The event begins at 2 p.m. for tours, remarks, a ribbon cutting, food, and a variety of student-led activities on all three floors of the 66,000-square-foot facility.

Other expected guests include Patricia Marshall, deputy commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success at the Department of Higher Education; Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse; state Sen. Jo Comerford; and state Reps. Aaron Vega, Lindsay Sabadosa, Daniel Carey, Brian Ashe, and Angelo Puppolo.

A short speaking program in the second-floor dining area will begin at 2:30 p.m. with remarks from Baker, state Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, HCC President Christina Royal, HCC trustee Evan Plotkin, and Maiv Lee-Ruiz, a nursing student and New Student Orientation leader.

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 Student Engagement area to talk to students representing clubs and other campus activities.

The Campus Center first opened in 1978 and had been plagued by 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 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 watertight, adding an atrium entrance off the HCC Courtyard on the west side, and a bridge over Tannery Brook that leads from a dedicated visitors parking lot to a first-floor welcome center, where visitors and students will find easier access to HCC’s offices of Admissions, Advising, Careers, Transfer, and Testing.