Hudson County Community College Opens New $25.9 Million Stem Building Designed by RSC Architects
Jersey City, New Jersey – A new $25.9 million, 70,070 s.f. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) building has opened on the Jersey City Campus of Hudson County Community College. Designed by Hackensack, New Jersey-based RSC Architects, this state-of-the-art complex consolidates and centralizes the College’s STEM programs into one location that serves 700-750 students.
RSC served as the Architect-of-Record for this project, which began its initial design in 2014. Open for the Fall 2017 semester, the new building is located at 263 Academy Street near Journal Square within Jersey City, with easy access to NJ TRANSIT’s buses and trains. The site formerly served as a parking lot for the school.
“STEM studies offer the greatest opportunities for well-paying, long-lasting careers and economic growth,” said Glen Gabert, Ph.D., President of Hudson County Community College. “We wanted a building that reflects our commitment to STEM and our students. Our new facility is comfortable, secure, learning-focused, has the newest and best technologies, and encourages the kind of collaboration that leads to innovations that can improve life in the future.”
This new STEM facility includes fourteen general classrooms; ten science labs for the study of microbiology, genetics, and engineering; an open lobby design; an outdoor collaborative space; a multi-purpose room; and offices for administrative officials.
Its state-of-the-art equipment including autoclaves, incubators, ionizers, explosion-proof refrigerators, and vacuum ovens that were built into the labs. RSC worked closely with the College to create a design that would meet the distinct needs of each department.
“We had several meetings with each department to ascertain what they’d like from their new facility,” says Kenneth P. Mihalik, AIA, Project Manager for RSC Architects. “Each department stressed the need for larger spaces to fit an increasing roster of students, and to offer even more learning activities and opportunities than before.”
RSC designed classrooms and labs of various sizes, along with a building exterior made of curved glass and a curved roof to stand out from the traditional box-shaped buildings in the area. The most challenging aspect of the design was fitting a large structure into a small urban space.
“Building a large facility within the middle of an urban center like Jersey City is always tricky because of complex building code requirements. We had to get creative with the way we laid out the floor plan to maximize the space and maintain the high quality of the facility’s learning areas,” continues Mihalik.
The U.S. Department of Education found that students in classrooms with natural light have a 20% better learning rate in math and a 26% improved rate in reading. RSC paid careful attention to these statistics, creating an open floor plan that maximized natural light for the College’s STEM students. RSC also intentionally designed the rear wall of the building to allow for the construction of a courtyard, creating a tranquil setting amidst an urban landscape for both students and faculty to enjoy.
The interior design includes earth tones that feature brown, yellow, and beige highlights, complemented by white walls that give the building a clean and open atmosphere. Each floor has a distinct accent color that is designed to differentiate the floors from each other, as well as to inspire and excite students in their daily learning activities.
Hudson County Community College is a public, comprehensive urban community college with nearly 10,000 students from Hudson County, one of the most densely-populated and ethnically-diverse areas in the United States.
The STEM Division of Hudson County Community College offers Associate in Science degree programs that prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions. Additionally, there are Associate of Applied Science and certificate programs that ready students for careers immediately after graduation.
“From education centers to healthcare facilities and government buildings, we are committed to creating a customized design that optimizes performance and fits the specific needs of each client. We are proud of the work we accomplished on the new Hudson County Community College STEM Building—specifically, its unique, curved exterior sets it apart from other Jersey City buildings. We can’t wait to see what the students will accomplish,” says John P. Capazzi, AIA, President of RSC Architects.