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Berkshire Community College Awarded $5.5M for Student Center

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College has been awarded $5.5 million for a project that will transform the first floor of the Field Administration building into a One Stop Student Success Center.
 
Gov. Charlie Baker announced this award on Tuesday at Westfield State University. The funding is part of a five-year $190 million Capital Investment Plan for public higher education that encouraged the submission of proposals that would benefit the Massachusetts economy and support student success and completion. 
 
BCC was selected as one of six projects for higher education institutions across the commonwealth, including the renovation of the 1956 Parenzo Hall at Westfield State where ceremonial bill signing for the $3.9 billion capital facility repairs act took place.
 
The One Stop Student Success Center concept was conceived in 2015. It will transform the student experience by making the entire admissions and enrollment process easier, say officials. The project will renovate the first floor of the Field Administration building, which currently houses enrollment management, advising, career and transfer services, financial aid and student accounts, and admission and the college registrar.
 
"The vision for this project was to create a comfortable and inviting central location where students and community partners have all of their college service needs met efficiently in one place," BCC President Ellen Kennedy said. "Receiving the funding for this project is an exciting opportunity for both the college and the Berkshires. We will continue to expand our efforts to reimagine not only our buildings and grounds but also, most importantly, how we can best serve our students so they thrive in the local and statewide economy"
 
BCC is currently completing $34 million in campus projects for the renovation of Hawthorne and Melville halls, including a connector with upper and lower courtyards, paving of the parking lots and access roads, and installing a community turf field for football, soccer and lacrosse. Collectively, these projects have resulted in a campus transformation.
 
"When we originally designed the One Stop Student Success Center, we were focusing on student engagement, retention and graduation rates," Adam Klepetar, vice president of enrollment management, said. "The One Stop will do this by making the first floor of Field a student-facing space — a welcoming environment with all key onboarding offices located in one central place, while also creating opportunities for office efficiencies and providing collaborative workspaces for community-based partnerships."
 
BCC has been working with Dietz & Company Architects to develop and refine the facilities plan for this project.
 
The bond bill signed on Tuesday authorizes $950 million overall for public higher education investments. The administration's five-year plan has budgeted $190 million for capital repairs, renovations and improvements at state universities and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts system in fiscal 2019, including $37.3 million in FY19 for critical repairs at all 29 campuses in the state system and $50 million for significant infrastructure projects to address potential operational and life safety issues.
 
It also includes: 
  • $760.5 million for court facilities statewide;
  • $680 million for construction, renovations, and accessibility improvements at state office buildings;
  • $401 million for health and human services facilities (Baker previously signed legislation authorizing $199 million for a new long-term care facility at the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea, in November 2017);
  • $500 million for public safety facilities, and an additional $20 million for public safety equipment; and
  • $235 million for energy efficiency and climate change resiliency projects at state facilities.

Tags: BCC,   bond bill,   student support,   

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Schedule and Policy Changes at the Berkshire Museum

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Special hours will be in effect next week as the Berkshire Museum prepares for the Aug. 6 grand reopening of its fully-renovated second floor. 
 
The museum will close early at 4 pm on Sunday, Aug. 1, and will remain closed to the public Monday through Thursday, Aug. 2 through 5. The Berkshire Museum reopens Friday, Aug. 6, with an all-new second floor complete with five new exhibitions.
 
Beginning with Member Preview Days on Aug. 2, all Berkshire Museum visitors ages two and older will once again be required to wear protective face coverings throughout their visit and will not be permitted inside the building without a mask or other suitable face covering. 
 
Since statewide masking policies were lifted in late May, the Berkshire Museum has strongly encouraged visitors to carry on wearing face coverings to protect its many young visitors under the age of twelve who cannot yet be vaccinated. This week's switch to mandatory masking comes in response to recent CDC guidance and changing COVID-19 conditions in the region.
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