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Eastern Holds Ribbon-Cutting for Communication Building, Goddard Hall

Published on December 17, 2019

Eastern Holds Ribbon-Cutting for Communication Building, Goddard Hall

Dignitaries huddle to cut the ribbon on the newly re-opened Communication Building and Goddard Hall

Eastern President Dr. Elsa M. Núñez

President of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Mark E. Ojakian

Eastern communication major Tyler Madden '21

Eastern Connecticut State University held a formal ribbon-cutting on Dec. 16 to celebrate the re-opening of the Communication Building and Goddard Hall. Members of the campus community gathered in the lobby of the Communication Building to hear University officials, state dignitaries and project representatives applaud the successful remodeling of two historic buildings.

Originally constructed in 1967 (Goddard) and 1974 (Communication), the adjoining academic buildings underwent major renovations over the past two years. Phase 1 (Communication) was completed in fall 2018; Phase 2 (Goddard) was completed this past fall 2019.

The buildings are home to the Departments of Kinesiology/Physical Education (KPE) and Communication. Goddard enhancements include fresh labs for KPE and psychology, classrooms and offices. The Communication Building features a brand-new radio station and control room, state-of-the-art television studio and audio/video production suites.

“These facilities compete with those of any private college in the state,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez of the buildings’ new technology, redesigned layout and added space. “Our students need modern facilities and we need them to be competitive.”

“This project represents an investment in the future of Connecticut,” said Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. “If we want our students to receive the best possible education, we must ensure they have access to welcoming academic spaces. The newly renovated Goddard and Communication buildings will provide Eastern students with top-quality classrooms for decades to come.”

The two-phase project—staggered to keep as many classrooms on line as possible—took less than two years to complete at a total cost of $21,541,803. The project finished two months under schedule and $1 million under budget, according to Noel Petra, deputy commissioner of Real Estate and Construction Services at the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS).

The facade of the newly re-opened Communication Building

A KPE labs in Goddard Hall

A psychology lab in Goddard Hall

The radio station in the Communication Building

A tiered classroom in the Communication Building

The TV studio in the Communication Building

“It’s projects like this one that we at DAS can be particularly proud of,” said Petra. “Once in a while, you get just the right combination of people working together to make the project a success on every level, and this was one of those. We have a great team and a great relationship with Eastern and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. We had a vision and we delivered. We’re all thrilled with the final result.”

Will Spears, principal at MDS Architects, said the two main challenges of the project included making extensive renovations on a tight budget and delivering in a short time frame. “The project went swimmingly throughout,” he said. “The fact that I didn’t hear about any problems is a testament to that.”

The building was designed and constructed in accordance with Connecticut High-Performance Building Standards. Renovations were completed with locally/sustainably sourced building materials; the buildings have new windows, roofing, insulation and high-efficiency energy/plumbing systems.

Randy Becker, senior construction manager at PDS Engineering and Construction, praised the collaborative effort, which include his team of builders, the architectural firm and members of Eastern’s Facilities Management & Planning Department. “It was hard work, but we had a great team. This project was a lot of fun to come to work.”

Rounding out the ceremony were remarks by two of the buildings’ inhabitants: communication major Tyler Madden ’21 and Professor Andrew Utterback, chair of the Communication Department. “I have a passion for broadcast journalism,” said Madden, who’s the executive producer of ETV, Eastern’s student-run live newscast. “It’s amazing that I have the ability to apply what I’ve learned in class immediately in the TV studio. That hands-on experience gives you confidence in the professional setting.”

Madden mentioned his recent internship at NBC Connecticut. “The tasks they had me work on are exactly what I’ve been doing here at Eastern. That’s the confidence you get learning in an environment like this.”

Utterback praised all who were involved in the project, speaking on behalf of the faculty and students. “When an institution invests in its facilities, the return is not measured in dollars, but in the effect on people. The return on investment is then cast away into the future — the entire lives of our students — a value which can’t easily be quantified.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Facilities