As part of its ongoing commitment to build a comprehensive college presence in Meriden, Middlesex Community College announces its expansion and renovation of the Meriden Center. This effort, which is expected to be complete before the end of the year, adds classrooms as well as study, library and computer space to the building, and expands meeting areas to host college and community events. As a result of these changes, the new Main Street entrance to the Meriden Center now opens onto a “Welcome Center,” where staff will be able to help students with everything they need to enroll at the college.
The biggest change to the Meriden Center is its expansion throughout the entire first floor. This street-level presence is more welcoming and engaging, and better integrates the College with the community. This new space is being reconfigured to house a lending library, tutoring center, learning and computer lab, conference room, large community room, administrative offices, and the new Welcome Center.
The changes also have allowed The Meriden Center to create a studio arts room for the first time in its history. This past semester, the College offered its first classes in watercolor and design, taught by arts professors from the Middletown campus. This space has also been configured for use as a ‘dry science’ lab so The Meriden Center can offer future courses in geology and environmental science.
The popular Allied Health Lab has moved from the first floor to an expanded space on the fourth floor of the building. This learning lab, which is used by students in MxCC’s Certified Nurse Aide program and the Patient Care Technician (PCT) certificate program, simulates the environment of a doctor’s office, hospital room, and phlebotomy lab. Students work with mannequins as they learn direct patient care in a setting comparable to most clinics.
“We are so pleased with these changes and the positive steps we are able to take to significantly enhance our Center and best serve our students,” said Tami Christopher, director of The Meriden Center. “Our new space is a great learning environment that is bright and open, and fully equipped with computers, desks, and outstanding presentation tools.”
The new entrance, or ‘storefront,’ of the Meriden Center will be a welcome addition to the downtown Meriden cityscape. It will increase the visibility of the Center, and allow passersby to look in and see the college at work. The new community room will provide Meriden Center students with their own student commons for the first time. It also will serve as a space for large groups to meet, for lectures to be delivered, and for films to be shown. Additionally, the street-level access to the room will allow the College to better participate in community events such as the annual Three Kings parade.
The community room now gives the College the option of inviting the public to attend its cultural activities or hear some well known speakers who visit The Meriden Center during each semester. In the past, guest speakers have included former Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, Connecticut Speaker of the House, Rep. Christopher Donovan, Meriden Mayor Michael Rohde, and Connecticut State Senator Len Suzio.
“By upgrading and expanding The Meriden Center, Middlesex Community College is continuing to invest in this important resource for our students,” said Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC. “With this additional classroom and computer lab space, we can offer more courses and more flexible course schedules to a greater number of students. This helps our growing student body better meet their educational and personal goals. This is an exciting time for The Meriden Center.”
Ross Gulino, owner of Gulino Real Estate, welcomes the expansion and new changes. “It is a great step forward for the city of Meriden to have MxCC’s presence so visible on West Main Street,” he said. “I know their enrollment is growing, which is a helpful to all of the downtown business owners. Students eat at the restaurants, visit the barbershop, workout at the Y, and contribute to the overall economic well being of our community.”
With enrollment at one of its highest levels since its opening in 1978, The Meriden Center is building upon its mission to become a valued place of learning for students at many different points in their careers. The small teacher-to-student ratios help students receive high-quality, individualized attention – which is crucial for most people’s educational success. Classrooms and computer labs are equipped with the latest instructional equipment and technology, giving students the tools they need to learn and complete assignments.
The Center continues to offers more than 60 for-credit courses as part of MxCC’s 25 degree and 20 certificate programs, along with many non-credit courses that provide opportunities for professional and personal growth. Christopher said the College will host a formal open house event to show off the completed space and introduce students and the community to its new services. That event is planned for later in the year.