Final beam placed for GCC’s $198M campus in downtown New Haven

Thursday, January 20, 2011
 

Gateway Community College (GCC) and Dimeo Construction Company held a “topping-out” ceremony today to celebrate the symbolic placement of the final beam for GCC’s new $198 million campus in downtown New Haven

The topping-out ceremony is a long-standing tradition in European and Native American cultures. In addition to speakers, guests to the event were invited to all sign the symbolic final beam, which was then raised to its place on the north section of the site with an evergreen tree placed on it to symbolize growth and attract good luck.

More than 200 people attended the ceremony, including GCC students, faculty and staff, as well as local and state officials, representatives from the project’s contractors and workers from the site itself.

The campus is the largest construction project the state has ever undertaken and its first public building designed to be gold-certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Work began on the site in December 2009 and is slated to be completed in late 2012. At its peak, it is estimated that up to 350 workers will be working on the site.

“While this represents a physical structure, it means much more to our community,” said GCC President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick. “When this project is completed in less than a year and half, we will provide the citizens of the New Haven Region with a world-class, LEED Gold, comprehensive community college,” she said. “In short, taking shape behind us is our gateway to the future to life-long learning for so many people who would otherwise be locked out or their dreams deferred. This new campus will help our community meet today’s educational needs and be ready to help meet the many workforce challenges of tomorrow.”

The construction site is made up of two parcels, one located north of the other, on 3.7 acres at 2-20 Church Street. When it’s completed in 2012, the campus will include two four-story buildings totaling 360,000 square feet and a 600-car parking garage. It will feature 90 classrooms, 10 meeting spaces, 22 computer labs, a two-story library, a culinary center, a bookstore, a health center, an early learning facility and a small business center.

The new campus will increase GCC’s enrollment capacity by 50 percent. GCC is one of the fastest growing community colleges in Connecticut and has been challenged for the past several years to accommodate its burgeoning student body within its current two campuses, one in New Haven and the other in North Haven.

In addition to Kendrick, speakers included Chancellor of Connecticut Community Colleges Marc Herzog; Michael P. Meotti, state commissioner of education; and Stephen F. Rutledge, executive vice president of Dimeo Construction Company, the project’s construction manager; Kelly Murphy, New Haven’s deputy mayor for economic development; and Michael Kihn, higher education market leader for the project’s architect, Perkins + Will in New York City.

Herzog said he was delighted to see how much progress had been made on the project since its groundbreaking one year ago. He said it was appropriate that the event took place just a few days after the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. “As we look at the ideals that were central to his life, like opportunity and equity, they are certainly central to the mission of Connecticut community colleges,” Herzog said.

Rutledge thanked all the site’s workers in attendance and everyone else who has had a hand in the construction of the project to date. “Dimeo Construction Company is proud to be a part of helping lead the team of professionals in construction of this very important educational facility for the regional community,” Rutledge said.



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About GCC

GCC offers more than 90 associate degree and certificate programs, serving more than 11,000 students, including 6,800 credit students. The college serves students in 24 towns and cities in the greater New Haven area, including: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Bridgeport, Cheshire, Clinton, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford, Wallingford, West Haven and Woodbridge. For more information, visit www.gwcc.commnet.edu.

About Dimeo Construction Company

Dimeo Construction Company is a New England-based firm with offices in Providence, R.I., New Haven, Conn., and Boston. Founded in 1930, Dimeo has provided over 79 years of construction management, general contracting, and design/build services to a broad range of clients including educational, healthcare, R&D, corporate, retail, and manufacturing industries. For more information, visit www.dimeo.com.