GCC Community Invited to Jan. 20 Ceremony to Celebrate Final Beam at New Downtown Campus

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The entire Gateway Community College community — students, staff, faculty and alumni — are invited to a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 20, to celebrate the symbolic placement of the final beam for GCC’s new campus downtown.

Everyone who attends will be invited to participate in signing the symbolic final beam. A long-standing tradition in European and Native American cultures, the topping-out ceremony also will include a symbolic evergreen bough being placed on the structure to symbolize growth and attract good luck.

The event will be held in the first-floor of the parking garage at the new campus, which is located at the corner of Church and Crown streets in downtown New Haven. Shuttle buses will run to the event from GCC’s Long Wharf campus at 60 Sargent Drive from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The beam signing will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Speakers will begin at 11:15 a.m. The beam raising will take place at 12 p.m. And there will be cake in the cafeterias on both the Long Wharf and North Haven campuses at 12:30 p.m.

Scheduled speakers include: GCC President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick; Chancellor of Connecticut Community Colleges Marc Herzog; Mike Meotti, state commissioner of education; and Stephen F. Rutledge, executive vice president of Dimeo Construction Company, the project’s construction manager. The event also will feature a tribute to Raeanne Curtis, retired commissioner of the state Department of Public Works, which is administering the project.

The $198 million 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 it is progressing on schedule. At its peak, it is estimated that up to 350 workers will be working on the project.

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.