Daily News

Tour of HCC’s new Culinary Arts Center Slated

HOLYOKE – The public is invited to tour HCC’s new Culinary Arts and Hospitality education and training center during the city’s Celebrate Holyoke festival on Aug. 26.

When it opens this fall, the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute will occupy the first and second floors of the Cubit Building, a square, four-story, red-brick former factory in Holyoke’s Innovation District on the corner of Appleton and Race streets, directly across from the city’s new Canal Walk, adjacent to the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, and down the block from Gateway City Arts.

“It’s a great building in a fantastic location in a developing and reinvigorated part of the city,” said Amy Dopp, HCC’s interim vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We’re very happy to be able to contribute to that renewed vitality and believe the city, the college, and the region will all benefit from our presence there.”

Holyoke Community College will celebrate progress of the project on Aug. 26, starting at noon with a short program outside the building, followed by tours every half hour from 12:30 until 4:30 p.m.

Holyoke mayor Alex Morse, HCC president Christina Royal, and others are expected to offer remarks while students and faculty from HCC’s Culinary Arts program will serve a selection of freshly made dishes.

Work on the $6.2 million, 19,888-square foot project is scheduled to be completed by late September, pending any unanticipated delays. W.J. Mountford Co., of South Windsor, Conn., is the general contractor. Funding was secured from a variety of sources: The Mass. Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development ($1.75 million), the U.S. Economic Development Administration ($1.55 million); HCC reserves and HCC Foundation ($2.4 million), the City of Holyoke ($400,000), and MGM Resorts ($100,000).

On the first floor, students and teachers will have at their disposal multiple training zones — a teaching kitchen, bakery laboratory kitchen, production kitchen, dining room, and a classroom with a demonstration kitchen, all fitted with the most modern equipment.

The second floor will feature two smart classrooms, a hotel laboratory, a teaching kitchen for workforce training programs, men’s and women’s changing rooms, a student lounge, conference space, and faculty and staff offices.

“We’re going to have the latest and greatest of everything,” said chef and HCC Culinary Arts professor Warren Leigh. “It’s going to be the finest, free-standing community college hospitality and culinary arts education and training center in New England — nearly 20,000 square feet. That’s exciting.”

There will be plenty of room for HCC to expand its programs for students seeking two-year degrees and one-year certificates, as well as those looking for short-term job training

The facility will allow HCC to bring all levels of culinary and hospitality training into one location: associate degree and credit certificate programs; noncredit professional development certificates, such as ServSafe and TiPS; personal enrichment classes, including gourmet cooking; and job training for the unemployed.

Noncredit programming is expected to begin in December and credit classes next spring.