Carrying a message of hope in the midst of some grim economic times, Hagerstown Community College President Guy Altieri on Friday, March 22, officially marked the opening of the newly renovated Behavioral Science and Humanities Building and the Learning Support Center.
The two buildings are part of a much larger construction project that included renovations to the Kepler Performing Arts Center and construction of the STEM building. [See article by Shaun Eumont in this issue.]
The Behavioral Sciences and Humanities (BSH) Building was known as the Classroom Building when it opened in 1966. The renovation of the building began in 2012, and included creating of new faculty offices, instructional spaces, classrooms, and meeting rooms. Among the new elements of the building is the Fletcher Faculty Development Center, which is designed to be a resource for both staff and adjunct faculty. The Fletcher Center was made possible by a $385,000 grant from the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation.
The Learning Support Center(LSC) was originally opened in 1966 as the Science Building. Its laboratories and science instruction space were shifted to the new STEM building in 2012, and extensive renovations of the old structure began. The LSC now houses HCC’s developmental education program and student tutoring services.
In his remarks before the ribbon cutting ceremony, Altieri did not gloss over the challenges facing both Washington County and the nation as a whole. Economic indicators show that young people are unlikely to enjoy either the standards of living or the educational opportunities of their parents, he said. Already, statistics show an increasing percentage of the population living below the poverty level, said Altieri. In this situation, the role of institutions like HCC is increasingly important, he said.
“The solution must be to strengthen the opportunity for people of all ages to obtain a post-secondary education,” he said.
The new renovations of the BSH Building and the LSC help HCC meet the needs of both the local and national economy, said Altieri.
“They represent an extraordinary resource for generating the educated and well-skilled workers that our economy will need,” he said.
In addition to HCC President Altieri and Vice President David Warner, representatives of the HCC Board of Trustees, the Washington County Board of Commissioners, the HCC faculty, and the student body also spoke. Barbara Kulusic, who graduated from HCC in 2012, was given the honor of concluding the ceremony.
Kulusic was in the last class to use the Classroom Building before it was transformed into the BSH Building. The new BSH building, she said, is “much more conducive to learning.”
Kulusic, who is a veteran of the US Navy, came to HCC to earn an associate’s degree, but now is pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The challenges she faced were daunting, Kulusic said, but she met them with the help she found at HCC.
“I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “I thought I was going to lose my mind. But the tutoring assistance I got here was just unbelievable. I would not have been able to graduate last year without their help.”