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City Transfers Ownership for NECC’s Allied Health & Technology Center

Submitted by on July 7, 2011 – 11:24 am

Northern Essex Community College’s plans to build an Allied Health & Technology Center in Lawrence took a huge leap forward when the city of Lawrence recently transferred ownership of the In-Town Mall property on Common St. to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said David Hartleb, former president of Northern Essex, who retired June 30.  “It is good news for the college and the city of Lawrence and its residents. We are very grateful for all of the support we received from Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua. It would not have been possible without his support as well as the support of, Lawrence city councilors, and our local legislative delegation.  Everyone worked together to make sure this day came.” 

Now that the deed has been transferred, the state’s Department of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is expected to move forward with demolition of the In-Town Mall, the dilapidated structure currently located on the site.  The demolition will take approximately eight months.

Replacing the In-Town Mall, an abandoned mall/parking structure, the new 39,000 square foot Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center will feature classrooms, computer labs, faculty and administrative offices, a Career Planning and Advising Center, and state-of-the art technology in the Health Education Simulation Center.

Demolition of the existing building will start soon. Since funding for the $26.6 million building has been secured, the process should move quickly with an anticipated opening of the new facility in the fall of 2013.

“This new facility will help us to address growing student enrollments and to expand our nursing and allied health programs,” said Dr. Lane Glenn, who became president of Northern Essex on July 1.  “The center will also help revitalize downtown Lawrence.”

As it stands now, the building will be approximately 39,000 gross square feet, of which approximately 23,000 square feet are assignable for classroom, labs, offices, and student services. This will be the college’s fifth site in Lawrence, joining the Dimitry Building on Franklin St., the Louise Haffner Education Center on Amesbury St., NECC Riverwalk at 360 Merrimack St., and 50 Franklin St., home of ihealth@necc

“We conservatively estimate that this new building will bring 1000 additional students to the city, students who will be attending classes, buying meals, and contributing in many ways to the economic vitality of Lawrence,” said Glenn. 

The project has received extensive support from many private and public sources, including a $1 million pledge from the Technical Training Foundation,; $118,000 from the NECC Foundation for relocation of In-Town Mall business; $72,000 from the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission for an environmental site survey; $530,000 from two Congressional Allocation Awards through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); a $377,000 Congressional Award through Health and Human Services; and the city of Lawrence which voted to give the In-Town Mall property to the college.