$21 million upgrade to BCC's Hawthorne, Melville halls slated for New Year's Eve finish

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PITTSFIELD >> Berkshire Community College trustees heard Tuesday that complete renovation of the school's original classroom buildings — Hawthorne and Melville halls — is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Hawthorne Hall opened for some summer school use in June, said Vice President for Finance and CFO John Law, although finish work is ongoing, as is work on a connector addition that will link corners of the two rectangular structures.

Melville Hall is now closed and undergoing the same extensive renovation work.

Showing a series of images of the Hawthorne project, Law noted the expansion of window and skylight features, new technology and laboratory rooms, a lecture hall, "a variety of work spaces for students," faculty areas; wide glass areas with views of the campus and mountains; electrical and technology infrastructure upgrades; flat "green roof" sections with live vegetation, a new courtyard area.

"We had lot of positive feedback on the natural light, which was one of the objectives," Law said.

The $21.1 million project to renovate both buildings, which received state funding in 2012, is projected to be completed by Dec. 31, he said.

"I want to thank John Law and [Director of Facilities] Dave Moran for their leadership on this project," said BCC President Ellen Kennedy.

It is well known that there can be "bumps in the road" on such large projects, she said, but the officials reflected calm perseverance throughout the process.

The trustees also approved a contract Tuesday with G4s Secure Solutions USA to provide campus security for the next three years. The contract includes two one-year renewal options after the first year, which started Aug. 15.

The annual payments under the contract would be $287,809 in year one, $291,948 in year two, and $296,192 in the third year.

Law said the college had hired RIBI Security of Warwick, R.I. for security for the past year following several years with Securitas security. RIBI, which was chosen through a bidding process last year after the contract with Securitas expired, "was not a good fit" for the campus, Law said.

He added that the decision to seek new bids this year was not based on any specific problem or incident.

G4s Secure Solutions USA entered the lowest of seven bids received this year, he said, adding that four finalist firms were interviewed.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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