New STEM building important part of the Arts and Sciences Complex

April 27, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • HCC President Guy Altieri welcomed guests to the STEM building dedication ceremony Friday morning.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

After opening in January, the Science Engineering Math and Technology (STEM) building was dedicated Friday at Hagerstown Community College.

“This building makes a grand statement in the importance regarding science, technology, engineering, math and medical careers,” HCC President Guy Altieri said. “That is extraordinary as we think about new century jobs in Western Maryland and across the country.”

Altieri spoke in a tent outside of the building where students, faculty, administration members, and others associated with the college gathered to recognize the building.

“This building will give our community a chance to continue to train and advance the world technology,” Washington County Commissioner Jeff Cline said. “It can bring and provide high paying jobs to those students.”

Alicia Manfre, a professor in HCC’s biotechnology program, said the space in the building makes it easier on students and teachers.

“We’ve got enough space for all the students to comfortably work without being on top of each other,” she said. “There’s a lot of nice audio and visual equipment here that makes teaching a lot easier.”

Christopher Giannoumis of Waynesboro, Pa., part of HCC’s alternative energy program, said the building is a significant upgrade from the original science building.

“We needed a change of some type, and this building definitely accommodates that and more,” Giannoumis said. “The type of equipment and how close it is to real world applications is going to give you an edge.”

The STEM Building is a green building, which means it is sustainable and energy efficient. Diane Cho, president of Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc., the architecture firm that designed the building, said many of the features that make it green can be seen by people who are not involved in science or engineering.

“You can walk around the building and see the rain harvesting system, the green roofs as you look out the windows and the constellations we designed with the ceiling,” Cho said. “We try to have those sustainable features apparent.”

The building is part of the Arts and Sciences Complex, which includes the renovation of the former Science Building and the Classroom Building. According to published reports from HCC, the overall cost of the complex is $32.3 million, $12 million of which came from the county and $18.3 million that came from the state.

Altieri said it will help serve the community as well as serving the college.

“If you ask employers who are focused on STEM careers or STEM products, the most important thing for them in relocating their facilities is to have a STEM-oriented workforce,” he said. “By having this building and having students who complete STEM careers, I think we’ve become much more attractive to the high-skilled and high-wage employers.”

HCC is scheduled to an Arts and Sciences Day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring a STEM festival and allowing people to tour the STEM building as well as the newly renovated Kepler Theater.

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