By Jarod Deegan

“This new building is going to be the centerpiece of the campus,” said Cape Cod Community College (4Cs), Vice President of Finance and Operations Lisa Kopecky, about the new Science building, officially named the Frank and Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center.

For the past seven years, 4Cs President John Cox has been the front runner on the project for major, and greatly needed, improvements to the environment that 4Cs science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students work and learn in every day. Today, a year after the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) approved of the plans for the 23,000 square foot facility, the faculty and administration are sitting on the edge of their seats while awaiting the highly anticipated construction of the new building.

“We are very excited for the upgraded labs in the new building,” says Jenifer Alai, Associate Professor and Chairwoman of the Science Department. “The new classrooms will be equipped with modern and up-to-date tech that will be on the same level as the tech our students will see at any four-year schools in the area and will also be larger in size to allow the professors to walk around and interact with the students and offer assistance.”

The new facility will be located directly in front of the old one, with plans to tear down the old building once construction on the new one is complete. With the location of the building being in the middle of campus, the administration is heavily focusing on making the campus more accessible for people in need of assistance with getting around the campus.

“The building will be fitted with an elevator system that will access all floors, and there will be a walk-way that will connect with the Grossman Commons and the North Building through the new Science and Engineering Center,” said Kopecky. “The best part of the walk-way is that it will be enclosed to offer a passage through campus that will protect the students from the weather in case it rains or snows.”

This new Science and Engineering Center will be fitted with glass windows all around the building and in the classrooms, and will have light access panels in the ceilings, allowing natural light in to the building to provide a lively feel. The building will also bring new lounge areas for students to congregate.

“Aesthetically, having a new building on campus will be a great look and hopefully can attract more new students,” said Judith Andersen, adjunct faculty in the Department of Mathematics. That is exactly what the school would like to get out of the new project too.

“It’s a fact that 68% of students make their decision based on first impressions,” says Kopecky. “So, it’s very important that we are able construct a building that is aesthetically pleasing but also fits in with the look of the campus.”

Plans for the new Science and Engineering Center have been ongoing since 2007, when the idea was first taken into consideration. But, it wasn’t until 2012 when President Cox came aboard that these ideas became a focus for the college. After two years, in 2014, a grant of $36 million was approved for the project by then Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, only to have the funds be retracted in February of 2015 by Gov. Baker after the Boston area, pummeled by snow storms that halted the MBTA system, needed to reallocate funding there.

After that set back, President Cox continued to lobby for the project funds, and in December of 2017, proposed plans by DCAMM were initially denied. After configurations were made to the plans, DCAMM approved the proposals in July of 2018, and the school was then granted $25 million by the state.

Where the school stands now, construction on the new building will begin in the Spring semester of 2021, and the building is expected to be completely finished and ready for occupancy in the Fall semester of 2022.

Image of science building courtesy of Patrick Stone.

TOP: Front view / BOTTOM: Side view, resting on a hill