Harford Community College focused on $31.5 million Chesapeake Center renovation, pushing back library project

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The renovation of the library at Harford Community College is being pushed back one year as the school begins to move forward with a $31.5 million renovation of the Chesapeake Center that would more than double its size.

“We want to convert [the Chesapeake Center] to the front door of the campus,” said Katie Callan, senior associate vice president for administration.

Services such as enrollment (admissions, registration and records, and financial aid), dining and cultural events, as well as the Chesapeake Theater and Chesapeake Gallery, would be housed in the renovated Chesapeake Center. The expansion from 32,000-square feet to 72,000 square feet is expected to be complete in the fall of 2022.

Employee-related services like human resources and communications currently housed in the Chesapeake Center would be moved to the student center building, which is at the back of the campus and has limited parking.

The state approved $1.9 million in funding for design of the project, but split it over two years, Callan told members of the board of trustees at their May 14 meeting.

A contract for the design is expected to be presented for approval to the trustees at their meeting in June, Callan said.

The project will also include expansion of the dining service, an upgrade to the theater and an addition of 6,000-square feet of meeting space, she said.

Ground is expected to be broken for the Chesapeake Center project in May 2021 with construction completed by November 2022.

Because it is such a big project, the library renovation is being pushed back by a year. Design funds had been budgeted for FY2021, with funding for construction and furniture and equipment over the following two years.

“We don’t want to chance construction overlap,” Callan said after the meeting. “It’s disruptive to have two major buildings offline at the same time.”

The $7.6 million library renovation includes mechanical system replacements, exterior facade and roof improvements and interior space reconfigurations.

The goal of the library project is to re-imagine it as a “learning commons,” a space bustling with student activity, providing traditional library resources and other academic support while also introducing a social component and opportunities for collaborative learning, Nancy Dysard, director of communications, said.

It will become a “heartbeat space,” a centralized area at the “heart” of campus, where students, faculty, staff and administrators (the president’s office is on the library’s third floor) can come together to meet, exchange ideas and learn, she said.

The renovation of Fallston Hall began in late January and is on time and on budget, Callan said.

The $7.1 million project includes upgrades to the mechanical and electrical system and the roof and renovation of the GIS lab, the criminal justice lab, the model teaching lab and student collaboration spaces.

Trustees approved a contract for $128,410 with Maryland Correctional Enterprises for furniture in the building. The furniture will be delivered and installed by MCE before the building opens in January.

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