Home away from home
The late afternoon ceremony was ideal for a happy occasion, with balmy temperatures and warm feelings among guests. "This is an important milestone in the life of Northampton Community College (NCC)," said Dr. Mark Erickson, president of NCC, at the ribbon-cutting for the new residence hall on the Bethlehem Campus.
Students moved in prior to the start of classes on August 24. The formal ribbon-cutting took place on August 27.
The Residence Hall Commons is an addition to earlier student housing, which was built in 1986 for out-of-area, out-of-state and international students. All residential buildings-older and newer-are part of the Commons. As the newer structures went up, the pre-existing facilities received an upgrade. Under the skillful direction of J. G. Petrucci, Co., contractors skillfully joined the old and new buildings around a center courtyard that affords a relaxing place for gatherings.
NCC remains the only community college in Pennsylvania, and few in the nation, to offer on-campus housing.
The new complex gives an additional 330 students the chance to live on campus, bringing NCC's capacity to house students up to 600.
For the first time, residents of local communities also have access to on-campus housing.
Students can choose from among single-occupancy rooms in the residence hall, double-room occupancy rooms in the residence hall or an apartment. The twelve furnished apartments can accommodate four students each and are primarily for upperclassmen.
Residents also enjoy amenities that include a dining commons with a 35-foot ceiling and panoramic views and fresh meals cooked from scratch, including many locally-grown ingredients; complementary laundry facilities; Wi-Fi; ample parking; 24-hour security; and lounges in which to socialize and study. Students can select from among three meal plans or use flex dollars for other dining facilities on campus. On evenings and weekends, they may participate in planned educational and recreational activities.
Additionally, students take part in a residential curriculum, whose mission is to create and maintain a living learning environment that promotes academic success and personal growth through internally designed experiences, programs and activities. The curriculum for the fall semester includes academics, interpersonal and intrapersonal development, practical competency, and civic engagement.
To be eligible to live in a residence hall or apartment, a student must be taking at least 12 credits of coursework a semester.
Speakers at the ribbon cutting included Dr. Mark Erickson, president of Northampton Community College; Susan Salvador, vice-president for student affairs; Arif Fazil, president of D'Huy Engineering, Inc. and vice-chair of NCC's Foundation Board; Martin Till, regional president of J.G. Petrucci Company, Inc.; and computer information technology major Lauren Strong, an honors student. All speakers praised the cooperation among NCC, contractors and the community that made this momentous addition to NCC possible. They lauded the opportunities the residence commons will offer students.
Enumerating the many resources within the residence halls and the proximity to the library, athletic fields, fitness center and other resources, Salvador said that the students "bring with them their passion, their hopes, their goals, and their excitement. It is all about them."
As a non-traditional student, whose "gap year" surprisingly expanded to five, Strong felt a bit unsure of herself when she enrolled at NCC. She held back from campus activities, not sure where she fit in. At a QuadFest, however, she learned about campus clubs and organizations and immediately engaged with campus life, particularly the leadership class and seminars. "I have the opportunity here to grow, professionally, academically and personally." she said. "I couldn't have found this anywhere else but at NCC." She also said that many residents are grateful to be able to attend an affordable, high-quality college while getting to experience on-campus living.
"The cafeteria is so nice, and I like being independent and having a roommate," said veterinary technology major Erica Bloomer, who is from Pike County.
Folding his laundry and chatting with other students in the laundry room, Maurice Hawkins of Stroudsburg said, "The rooms are well-sized, and I enjoy meeting other people here."
The NCC Foundation financed the construction and refurbishing of the Residence Hall Commons. J.G. Petrucci Company, Inc., managed the project from conception through move-in. USA Architects of Easton designed the buildings. Hannabery HVC of Upper Macungie did HVAC work. Lutron Electrics supplied the lighting. West Side Hammer did electrical work, and Livengood Excavators performed site work. Sodexo played a key role in designing the kitchen and serving areas and developed the menu.