Area elected officials to join faculty, staff and administrators attend ceremonies
marking the official grand opening of the new, six-story building on the
College’s Journal Square campus.
September 29, 2014, Jersey City, NJ – This morning, Congressman Albio Sires, Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise, and other elected officials and community leaders gathered with the Trustees, students, faculty, staff, and administration of Hudson County Community College (HCCC) for the official dedication of the College’s new Library Building.
The ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place inside the six-story, multifunctional structure, which is located at 71 Sip Avenue on the College’s Journal Square Campus in Jersey City. The 112,000 square-foot building is just steps away from the Journal Square PATH Transit Station.
Dr. Glen Gabert, President of HCCC, said the Library Building was designed to serve as a center of knowledge and learning, and to promote a sense of community and connectedness for students, faculty, staff, and all who live and work in Hudson County. “This College and this Library Building belong to our community, and we hope everyone will utilize the resources and enjoy the amenities,” Dr. Gabert said.
Entrance to the HCCC Library Building from Sip Avenue is available through a soaring, two-story lobby. Adjacent to the lobby is the HCCC Liberty Café, a coffee bar that offers pastries, sandwiches, and snacks.
The building’s first two stories (street-level and second floor), with 33,500 square feet of space, are dedicated to the Library itself. Included here is a “Makerspace,” an area that promotes learning through creativity and crafting, and may be utilized by the College’s students and staff as well as by members of the community. A meditation room, three group-study rooms, and more than 70 computer stations are also included in the Library’s space.
Situated on floors three through five are 33 classrooms (traditional classrooms, computer labs, and tiered lecture halls) and 21 office stations. Two rooms on the fifth floor are being named in honor of notable Hudson County natives; the lecture hall (Room 527) will be named for Jersey City educator and HCCC Board of Trustees member, the late Alfred E. Zampella, and a Community Education classroom (Room 518) will bear the name of nationally acclaimed historian Thomas J. Fleming.
There is a gallery on the sixth floor that is being named for Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull, who presented the College with an historic gift of more than 230 works of art. There is also an exhibit space, three classrooms, and a roof terrace with spectacular views of Hudson County on this floor.
Situated on the sixth-floor roof terrace is the College’s 9/11 Monument. The College was privileged to have acquired a remnant piece of steel that was once part of a structural column at the World Trade Center, and the HCCC Board of Trustees commissioned artists Billy Economou to design and craft the polished base that it rests upon. Fittingly, the 9/11 Monument has been situated so that the new Freedom Tower in Manhattan serves as its backdrop.
Art from the HCCC Foundation Art Collection is being installed throughout the HCCC Library Building. Works on the fifth floor are primarily from the 1960’s and include pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. There are also works by HCCC art students displayed on the fifth floor. Edward Curtis photographs of Native Americans that are framed in recycled barn wood may be viewed on the fourth floor. A Navajo rug that was donated by HCCC Librarian Clifford Brooks is displayed in the fourth-floor lobby. There are several works displayed throughout the Library, including Willie Cole’s “Man, Spirit, Mask” on the second floor. A photo of one of William Wegman’s famous Weimaraner dogs may be enjoyed on the first floor, where there are also works by Jersey City and Hudson County artists and pieces that were part of the Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull gift.
Construction on the HCCC Library Building began in November 2012, and the “topping-out” ceremony was held in April 2013. The building was designed by NK Architects, and includes a number of sustainable materials and features.
The HCCC Library Building is an integral part of the College’s $250 million capital expansion and improvement master plan that has included the from-the-ground-up construction of the HCCC Culinary Arts Conference Center and the pocket park located across the street from it on the Journal Square (Jersey City) campus, as well as the North Hudson Higher Education Center in Union City. The College has also repurposed/revitalized buildings at 2 Enos Place, One PATH Plaza, 81 Sip Avenue, and 119 Newkirk Street in the Journal Square area of Jersey City. All of these endeavors have helped promote local development and stabilization, and have brought more security to these areas. The College invested an additional $100 million to outfit these buildings with the latest technologies and information systems, including WiFi.
“Throughout my time in public service I have supported efforts that ensure greater access to quality education on every level,” said Congressman Albio Sires. “This Library offers the people of Hudson County opportunities to strengthen their lives by learning and acquiring knowledge in a very comfortable atmosphere with the most up-to-date technologies.”
“Undertaking a project of this magnitude requires the support and cooperation of our elected officials, the College’s team of Trustees, administrators, faculty and staff, and most especially, our neighbors in the community,” said HCCC Board of Trustees Chair William J. Netchert, Esq. “We are grateful to everyone who has played a role in making this Library Building a reality. We especially want to thank Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.”
“Investing in the education and training of our people is one of the best ways to ensure future prosperity,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “HCCC’s outstanding new library complex is the latest example of our willingness as a county to make these kinds of vital investments – not just for students today but for the success of our economy tomorrow.”