Housatonic College Doubles Size

Staff | September 28, 2010

Construction has begun on more than $50 million in additions and renovations at Housatonic Community College (HCC) in Bridgeport, Conn., one of the fastest growing community colleges in the country.

Newfield Construction of Hartford, Conn., is the contractor for the work, with Fusco Corporation of New Haven serving as construction administrator.

Designed by Stamford, Conn., architect Perkins Eastman, the project is located on Lafayette Boulevard at the site of the former Sears Building and will double the size of the existing college. Encompassing nearly 175,000 square feet of new and renovated space, the project extends the campus southerly, and also involves gutting the old Sears facility while giving it a new façade and interior. The three-story complex will feature a modular aluminum panel exterior with brick and glass.

Housed inside the facility will be three academic departments: Humanities, Business, and Behavioral and Social Sciences. It will include 30 classrooms, 10 computer classrooms, and special purpose rooms for computer repair and networks, early childhood education, labs for foreign languages and English as a Second Language, and faculty offices. In addition, there will be a new college bookstore; a wellness center for aerobics, cardio and dance; a satellite cafeteria; and a 500-seat Event Center.

The existing campus was completed on the site just 10 years ago by the Connecticut Department of Public Works, but within that time demand for classes has expanded the student body by 68 percent to 4,700, straining capacity. At present, all available space in the existing facility is being used while offering classes seven days a week, according to HCC President Anita Gliniecki, who said the addition will give HCC the space to accommodate current students and allow for continued growth in credit and noncredit programs.

Besides being one of the nation's fastest growing community colleges, the campus is famous for its art collection, which, with nearly 4,000 works, is the largest two-year college art collection in the country. Numbered among this trove are works by Picasso, Chagall and Renoir, as well as Connecticut artists.

Speaking at groundbreaking ceremonies for the construction project, Governor M. Jodi Rell said that an expanded HCC will have a $180-million economic development impact on the area, revitalize downtown Bridgeport and offer new opportunities for students. Adding to this, DPW Commissioner James T. Fleming observed that business and industry in southern Connecticut will benefit greatly from the project.

Scheduled for completion in the summer of 2008, the project is overseen by the Connecticut DPW, which is responsible for the design and construction of major capital building projects (except highways and bridges) for most state agencies. DPW also handles leasing and acquisitions statewide, and facility management, maintenance and security of state buildings in the greater Hartford area.