The Move to Homestead Avenue
At the conclusion of our September exhibit, we left HCC at a newly refurbished campus, located on Sargeant Street in Holyoke (at the site of the old Holyoke High School), in September of 1967. Tragically, on January 4th 1968, a fire devastated the building and HCC would once again have to find a new home. The City of Holyoke rallied behind HCC and purchased 135 acres of land on Homestead Avenue for a new campus to be built. The site purchased was once home to the Sheehan Family, who maintained a farm and dairy operation until 1957.
On May 14th, 1968, the General Court of Massachusetts passed a special act (chap. 266) appropriating $1,100,000 for HCC to pay an architect to draft a master plan for the campus. President Frost appointed William McManus to be liaison to the architects and contractors during the design and construction of the new campus. McManus joined HCC as a faculty member in 1961, and took on various other leadership roles for the college, including the reconstruction of the former campus building on Sargeant Street.
After reviewing the qualifications of almost 40 architects, HCC recommended that the MBRCC hire the firm of Daniel, Mann, Johnson, and Mendenhall of Los Angeles to design a master plan for the new campus. The completed master plan envisioned construction of the campus in a series of phases.
Phase I: Site preparation, A building
(Donahue), B building (Frost), D building
(Marieb), power plant, and athletic fields.
Phase II: C building (fine arts)
Phase III: G building (Campus Center)
Phase IV: Physical Education Center
Phase V: Additions to A, B, C, and D
In August of 1970, the legislature appropriated $23,700,000 to complete the first phase of the master plan. On June 6, 1971, there was a groundbreaking ceremony attended by major college officials; Holyoke Mayor, William Taupier; former Senate President, Maurice Donahue; and Speaker of the House, David Bartley.
Daniel O’Connell’s Sons of Holyoke won the bid to complete the first phase of construction for the campus. They began working in January 1972 and completed ahead of schedule in January 1974. Students began their spring semester on the new Homestead Avenue campus on February 19, 1974.
Celebration and dedication of the new campus was held as a community open house event on April 27, 1975. Dr. Robert C. Wood, President of the University of Massachusetts gave the keynote address at the dedication ceremony. A traditional “passing of the keys” was performed, and President George Frost gave a brief acceptance speech. The open house event was attended by approximately 4,000 people. Community members toured classrooms, laboratories, seminar rooms, art studios, and other special teaching spaces.
Phase II, construction of the Fine Arts building, was completed in March 1975.
Phase III, construction of the Campus Center, was completed in 1981.
Phase IV, construction of the Bartley Athletic Center, was completed in 2000.
Phase V, additions and improvements to various buildings is an ongoing project, as you can tell by the construction happening on campus. The Kittredge Center, although not established in the original master plan, was completed and dedicated in May 2006.