Haley Academic Center, Mount Wachusett Community College

 

As part of a major expansion and renovation to the Gardner campus of MWCC, the College sought to renew its public identity through the transformation of its visitor entry courtyard. The pre-existing 1970’s era brutalist courtyard with its expansive hardscape, minimal planting, and lack of ADA accessibility was both unwelcoming to visitors and out-of-sync with the College’s vision for more student-centered and collaborative academic spaces. The project included complete removal of the courtyard paving, stairs and walls. In order to achieve direct universal access from the drop-off to the main entry and to avoid ramps, the existing drop-off was raised over a foot and gradually feathered to meet existing grade. In keeping with the College’s sustainability values, the courtyard was designed with a mosaic of native trees, shrubs, and grasses recalling the area’s indigenous landscape. The thoughtful incorporation of low-level bollard lighting, seating, and native boulders throughout further enhance the entry experience drawing people in to engage with nature and provide outdoor opportunities for learning and social engagement.

Owner:

Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance (DCAMM)

 

Location:

Gardner, MA

Architect:

Architerra Inc.