New England College plans to begin construction of a new building for its business programs this fall. (Courtesy)
New England College unveils plan for new campus building
The two-phase project, part of a campus-wide facilities improvement plan, will begin with classrooms, computer rooms, offices and meeting spaces to accommodate the liberal arts college's businesses students and faculty, according to New England College President Michele Perkins. There will also be multi-purpose spaces to accommodate other activities and programs.
"The new multi-purpose building will replace a very old building that does not have any real historic value," said Perkins.
If all goes well, Perkins said, construction will begin on the $6 million building in the fall and students could be in their new classrooms by the summer of 2014. The building will be located at the corner of Circle Road and Depot Hill Road.
The second phase of the project, which could begin in the next few years, depending on the success of fundraising efforts, is a 350- to 400-seat auditorium designed with many uses in mind, including providing a venue for politicians to meet and greet their potential voters and debate.
"We would like to host political forums and visits from the candidates, but we don't have a space that can hold that many people," said Perkins.
The largest space on campus in the Simon Center, where many candidates have stopped over the years, can only hold 150 people.
"We've had debates in the Simon Center, but we've had to exclude people because there just isn't enough room," said Perkins.
The auditorium space would also provide a venue for the arts and other programs, said Perkins, and would likely be designed with two levels of seating so that the upper level could be opened up to offer more seating if needed.
New England College has hired nationally renowned Boston-based architectural firm Sasaki Associates to lead in the design and construction of the business school.
"We are acutely aware of the need to balance the needs of our College and the best interests of the town of Henniker," said Perkins. "We are confident Sasaki will help us achieve that balance as we strive to improve our programs for students and faculty."
"We look forward to seeing the ideas from the designers," says Perkins. "We are in contact with members of the Henniker town planning board. Once we have a plan on paper, we will sit down with town leaders and discuss the best way to proceed."