Several dozen people gathered in the lobby of the Hudson County Community College library on April 29 to break ground on a new student center to be located next door.
The celebration marked the beginning of construction on the new Hudson County Community College Student Center, which will be located at 81 Sip Ave. on the HCCC Journal Square Campus in Jersey City.
Construction will include complete demo/renovation of the approximately 26,000 square-foot, two-story building which will have an indoor connection to the college’s Gabert Library.
On one of the display boards was a picture of the old restaurant that occupied the space being set aside for the new student center.
Some of the people attending the ground recalled having eaten there, but acknowledge that the plan for the new student center was one sign of a changing and growing Journal Square.
HCCC has been one of the pioneers in the restoration of the historic shopping district, and the student center, according to HCCC president, has the potential to do even more for the local community.
While men and women in hard hats continued work on the new student center, officials gathered in the lobby of the school’s library.
The Board of Trustees approved the funding for the school’s first student center in January, which will renovate the 26,000 square foot two floor restaurant which has been vacant since 2017.
Work will include installing new HVAC systems, elevators and a connection to the HCCC Gabert Library next door, expected to be complete by January 2020
HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber said the building will include a student lounge, café, security command center, offices for student organizations and college departments, and other spaces
“This is place where student can engage, study, relation and might served as a venue for special events.”
A community space
“The center will have two lounges, as well as office space for various student activities, such as student government,” Reber said. “This brings us a step closer to being the best community college in the state.”
The project is part of HCCC’s ongoing capital improvement program. The college has grown from one building 20 years ago to nearly a dozen properties in Jersey City and the North Hudson Campus in Union City.
County Executive Tom DeGise talked about the past and present and how far the school has come over the last 17 years.
“The college has been an important partner in restoration of Journal Square, it was here when nobody else was interested in investing,” DeGise said.
The HCCC Board of Trustees approved a revised budget for the project at a cost not to exceed $8,232,378.
Di Cara-Rubino Architects of Wayne was awarded the $90,000 contract for architectural and engineering services, and APS Contracting, Inc. of Paterson was awarded the $6,097,000 contract for renovation. The project will be financed with Chapter 12 funding, a state program for county colleges. As a result, the college does not carry any capital debt, Reber said, and not one dollar of student tuition is utilized for debt.
“This is Hudson County Community College’s first dedicated student center building,” said HCCC President Chris Reber. “This new facility will provide students with a place to study, to relax, and to interact with one another, sharing ideas and building relationships. “We are excited and very proud to begin working on this project and look forward to opening its doors and welcoming our students early next year.”
For updates on this and other stories check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Al Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org