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NECC Riverwalk Now Official

Submitted by on January 15, 2011 – 12:00 pm

Celebrating the opening of NECC Riverwalk are Dianne Lahaye of workforce development and community education; Dawna Perez, access and community building; Dalia Diaz, former college trustee, and Polly Vitagliano, graduate of the Entrepreneurial Training Program.

Northern Essex officially opened its newest facility, NECC Riverwalk, at a January 13 open house and ribbon cutting.

The event featured classroom demonstrations, an art show, performances by the NECC Student Jazz-Rock Ensemble, and tours of the new space. Information on the programs offered at NECC Riverwalk—including credit courses in business and computer information sciences; noncredit courses in career skills and personal enrichment; and courses in adult literacy and ESL—was also available. NECC Riverwalk is located at 360 Merrimack St. in Lawrence.

In a program kicking off the event, college President David Hartleb called the facility, which opened to students this fall, “a great success.” “We have enrolled three times the number of students we had anticipated,” he said. “It’s clear there was a need for this expanded campus and the program and services it offers.”

The college had anticipated offering 15 credit courses to 330 students in the fall but ended up with 40 credit courses and 800 students.

Sal Lupoli, owner of Riverwalk, shared the remarkable story of how the space was transformed from undeveloped mill space to a professional college environment in just 58 days. “We wanted to give the college a first-class space,” he said. “It took 100 contractors working three shifts to get this done and we finished ahead of schedule.”

The 26,000 square-foot space features 20 classrooms, five computer training rooms, a conference room, and staff offices. Large windows provide bright light and exposed brick walls add charm.

Members of the community attended the event including Senators Steven Baddour and Barry Finegold, Representative David Torrisi, and Patrick Blanchette, chief economic development director, city of Lawrence.