At the new Hudson County Community College STEM building in Jersey City, each level has a distinct accent color that differentiates the floors from each other and is meant to inspire and excite the students. — Courtesy: RSC Architects
By Joshua Burd
Hudson County Community College has opened a new $26 million science, technology, engineering and math building, marking the completion of a project designed by RSC Architects.
In a news release, the Hackensack-based firm announced the completion of the 70,070-square-foot building at 263 Academy St. in Jersey City. The facility opened for the start of the fall semester, allowing the college to consolidate and centralize its STEM programs into one location that serves more than 700 students.
RSC served as the project’s architect of record and began the initial design work in 2014, the news release said. The site was formerly a parking lot for the school, which operates near the city’s Journal Square section and offers quick access to NJ Transit buses and trains.
“STEM studies offer the greatest opportunities for well-paying, long-lasting careers and economic growth,” said Glen Gabert, president of Hudson County Community College. “We wanted a building that reflects our commitment to STEM and our students.
“One that 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.”
RSC Architects said the new STEM facility includes 14 general classrooms; 10 science labs for the study of microbiology, genetics and engineering; an open lobby design; an outdoor collaborative space; a multipurpose room and offices for administrative officials. State-of-the-art equipment that was built into the labs includes autoclaves, incubators, ionizers, explosion-proof refrigerators and vacuum ovens.
“We had several meetings with each department to ascertain what they’d like from a new facility,” said Kenneth P. Mihalik, project manager for RSC Architects. “Each department stressed the need for larger spaces to fit an increasing roster of students and offer even more learning activities and opportunities than before.”
The firm touted a design that includes an exterior made of curved glass and a curved roof to make it stand out from the traditional box-shaped buildings in the area. It also pointed to the building’s open floor plan, noting that natural light is shown to improve learning rates for math and reading, along with a rear courtyard provides a respite for students.
“From education centers to health care facilities and government buildings, we are committed to creating a customized design that optimizes performance and fits the specific needs of each client,” said John P. Capazzi, president of RSC Architects. “We are proud of the work we accomplished on the new Hudson County Community College STEM building, specifically the unique curved exterior that will set it apart from other buildings in Jersey City. We can’t wait to see what the students will accomplish.”