HACC to transform Conference Center into College’s administrative hub
HARRISBURG – The Board of Trustees of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, voted today to consolidate HACC's central administrative offices into one location, the C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center on the Harrisburg Campus.
The College’s central administrative offices are now in three different sites in the city: the Harrisburg Campus and two leased spaces at Penn Center 3 at 349 Wiconisco St. and Campus Square, 1426 N. Third St.
The trustees also voted to close the Conference Center on Dec. 31, 2012.
“The decision to close the Conference Center was extremely difficult, as it affects talented students, dedicated staff and our entire HACC community,” said HACC President John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D. “In our current economic environment, however, difficult decisions must be made to ensure the financial stability of the College. HACC is committed to working with all affected individuals and organizations to assist in this transition.”
The closing of the Conference Center will impact multiple groups, including 11 employees, culinary arts students, current vendors and future customers.
Full-time employees who lose their positions will be given severance pay and asked to work through Dec. 31, 2012, to ensure continuity of operations. Laid-off individuals will receive outplacement assistance. In addition, they may apply for future positions at the College. Those who meet the requirements will receive retirement benefits.
Current students enrolled in HACC’s Benjamin Olewine III Center for the Study of Culinary Arts and Food Service Management will finish the semester at the site. An academic team is reviewing options for the culinary arts courses for the spring 2013 term.
Events already scheduled through Dec. 31, 2012, will proceed as planned. Conference Center staff will work with clients with events already booked for 2013 to provide options and referrals to other local venues, including rental space at the Harrisburg Campus and the College’s other campuses.
Lastly, employees in the Office of College Advancement and the HACC Foundation, currently located in the building, will relocate temporarily to the fourth floor of Campus Square, at Midtown, 1426 N. Third St., Harrisburg.
The Board’s action follows the recommendation of the College’s Central Administration Relocation Committee formed several months ago to analyze the cost-effectiveness of consolidation options.
The committee narrowed the options to four locations in Dauphin County, and its recommendation of the Conference Center site includes three financial components:
- The Conference Center had the lowest renovation costs and HACC already owns the building.
- The Conference Center has accumulated a $3.8-million deficit during its 20 years of operation, even though it was established to be self-funding.
- The aging facility needs approximately $1.5 million in renovation and equipment replacement.
“The consolidation will significantly reduce expenses for HACC, as well as allow Central Administration to improve efficiency and collaboration, and ultimately the ability to best serve students, staff and the entire HACC community,” Sygielski said.
“The HACC community wishes to express our immense gratitude to the Lick, Olewine and Kohl families, whose generous support helped to create and grow the Conference Center and its programs,” he said. “For 20 years, the Conference Center has provided exceptional service to the College and numerous external partners who have supported or utilized the venue. HACC remains indebted to all those in the community who so generously support our students, our programs and our campuses.”
The architectural firm of Murray Associates Architects, P.C., of Harrisburg, will design the renovation. The firm, which designed the Conference Center, estimates renovation will begin in January 2013, with occupancy expected in December 2013.