The Registry of Deeds Building in Lawrence—now owned by the Northern Essex Community College Foundation— will be demolished later this month, making room for green space connecting two of the college’s downtown Lawrence buildings.
When completed, the 41,500 sq. ft. site will provide a walkway between the college’s Dr. Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center on Common Street —scheduled to open in the fall of 2013—and the Louise Haffner Education Center on Amesbury Street. 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.”
The foundation purchased the Registry of Deeds building, 281 Common St., Lawrence, in 2011 at auction from the Department of Capital Asset Management for $203,500. Built in 1950 as a court house and then turned into a Registry Building in the 1990’s, the building had been empty for more than 15 years before the foundation purchased it.
On Dec. 26, a company contracted by the foundation began the removal of hazardous material from the site, a one and a half week process, which will be followed by demolition. The college plans to have the green space completed by July 1 of 2013.
“The green space and the new Allied Health & Technology Center will enhance the look of downtown Lawrence,” said Glenn. “They will help beautify a very visible spot in the city.”
When completed, 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, 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 and operating room, 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.
With campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence and extension sites in Methuen and Groveland, Northern Essex Community College is a state-assisted college, offering over 70 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth. More than 7,400 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 6,700 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley. Northern Essex is the only state college located in the lower Merrimack Valley Region of Massachusetts. For more information, visit the website at www.necc.mass.edu.