JERSEY CITY, NJ—Hudson County Community College has unveiled a new $25.9 million, 70,070 square-foot Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building on its Jersey City campus.
Designed by Hackensack-based RSC Architects, the state-of-the-art complex consolidates and centralizes the college’s STEM programs into one location serving 700-750 students.
RSC served as the project’s architect-of-record and began the initial design work in 2014. Opened for the Fall 2017 semester, the new building is located at 263 Academy Street near Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ, with easy access to NJ Transit buses and trains. The site was formerly a parking lot for the school.
“STEM studies offer the greatest opportunities for well-paying, long-lasting careers and economic growth,” says Glen Gabert, PhD, 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.”
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 multi-purpose room, and offices for administrative officials.
State-of-the-art equipment including autoclaves, incubators, ionizers, explosion-proof refrigerators and vacuum ovens 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 a 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 offer even more learning activities and opportunities than before.”
RSC designed classrooms and labs of various sizes. The firm created an exterior of the building made of curved glass and a curved roof to make it 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 in the middle of an urban center like Jersey City is always tricky because of complex building code requirements,” Mihalik says. “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 spaces.”
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 HCCC offers Associate in Science degree programs that prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions. Additional Associate of Applied Science degrees and certificate programs prepare students for careers immediately after graduation.