Old Lawrence Registry Building Comes Down, Making Room for Green Space in City
On Friday, Feb. 22, the old registry building in Lawrence—a 60-plus year old structure which has been vacant for the past 15 years—came tumbling down.
A wrecking company hired by the Northern Essex Community College Foundation demolished the three-story brick building in just 7 hours, creating space for what will become a green walkway connecting two of the college’s downtown buildings.
When completed, the green walkway will connect the college’s Dr. Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center on Common Street—scheduled to open in the spring of 2014—and the Louise Haffner Education Center on Amesbury St. The college has two additional buildings in Lawrence: the Dimitry Building on Franklin St. and the iHealth Building, also on Franklin St.
“When the green space is completed and our Allied Health & Technology Center opens, we will we will be closer to accomplishing the college’s goal of a complete urban campus in downtown Lawrence,” said Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex. “This will be a great advantage for the city, providing additional educational opportunities for local residents and a larger pool of workers for area employers.”
Built in 1950 as a courthouse, the building became the registry in the 1990’s. It was purchased by the NECC Foundation from the Department of Capital Asset Management for $203,500 in 2011.
The $27.4 million El Hefni Health and Technology Center will house the majority of the college’s 18 health care associate degrees and certificates, including respiratory care, sleep technology, emergency medical technology, and nursing programs.
The 44,000 square foot facility will feature a Health Education Simulation Center, where health care students will receive hands-on experience in simulated environments such as a hospital intensive care unit, a trauma room, an acute care hospital room, an apartment, an ambulance, and a doctor’s office. The building will also include classrooms and computer labs and a Career Planning and Advising Center where students will receive academic and career counseling.
Architects Miller Dyer Spears—who also designed the Hartleb Technology Center on the college’s Haverhill Campus—designed the three-story contemporary structure, featuring sleek silver accents. It is a silver LEED project that takes full advantage of the sun as a source of energy.
The building is named in memory of Dr. Ibrahim El Hefni, a native of Egypt who was a longtime resident of North Andover and a successful business owner. An electrical engineer, he began his business in the basement of his home, and for 30 years provided jobs for hundreds of people. Before his death he created a foundation, now carried on by his widow Wensley El-Hefni, which has provided significant support to the college, including a $1 million donation to provide equipment for the new building.