Garden City-based Nassau Community College has opened a $31 million, 61,000-square-foot STEM (science technology engineering math) center. The building, which was constructed in the 1970s, has been remodeled as a high-tech academic center to equip students as they prepare for STEM careers in both hybrid and virtual workplaces.
At a ribbon cutting on Thursday, students, faculty board of trustee members and guests celebrated the new three-story center.
“At Nassau, we pride ourselves on making education and technology more accessible to all students,” Maria Conzatti, chief administrative officer of Nassau Community College, said in a written statement. “Modern facilities thoughtfully designed to support hands-on learning and innovation will foster our ability to shape the Long Island workforce.”
The building, known as Cluster C, contains the latest educational technology, STEM laboratories, climate-friendly green roofs and solar panels and general learning spaces. It is designed to accommodate more than 2,200 students a day. Nearly 90% of Nassau students are expected to take at least one course in the center before graduating.
Designed by NV5 architects and constructed by Jacobs and VRD Contracting, the building features 10 classrooms, 12 laboratories, faculty offices and a planetarium.
The building features outdoor classrooms, which include an observatory with telescopes, as part of the college’s astronomy program. There are green roofs, solar panels and a mini wind turbine for environmental and climate studies. The building features small seminar rooms to encourage interaction between students and faculty and foster group projects.
Funding for the project was provided by Nassau County with 50% matching funds from New York State.
“The county is honored to have played a pivotal role by providing the necessary funding to bring this cutting-edge facility to fruition,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said in a statement. “This investment in the next generation of leaders is a testament to the collaborative spirit between local government and academia.”
The building is designed to prepare students as they aim to address current and future challenges.
“As a physician, the importance of a STEM education is something in which I place great value,” Dr. Jorgé L. Gardyn, chairman of the Nassau Community College board of trustees, said in a statement.
“Many of the most pressing global challenges, such as public health crises, climate change, and energy sustainability, require solutions rooted in STEM disciplines,” he added. “This state-of-the-art facility will provide our college students with invaluable hands-on experience.”
The building has been selected as a model for future renovations of similar style structures at the campus.