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Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts opens newly-renovated environmental center

The Berkshire Eagle

Berkshire Community College president Ellen Kennedy

Like moths to a flame, students can’t help but be drawn into the newly renovated Hoffmann Environmental Center at Berkshire Community College.

Unlike other buildings on campus, the building now has a bright yellow exterior with green trim, and a new greenhouse standing alongside it.

"During the first few days we re-opened, we had a couple of kids who have been here for a few years walk in and wonder if they were in the right building," said Tom Tyning, a professor with the environmental studies department.

Today, the 100-plus guests expected at the center’s open house will enter into an approximately 400-square-foot lobby that was previously a garage. Now its walls are painted golden yellow with maroon accents. Large windows offer lots of natural light. Student-painted art and terrariums with live flora -- and soon, live animals -- decorate the space. Students and faculty can also enjoy plush new moveable red furniture pieces and Wi-Fi.

"It like it. This is my favorite study space. It’s peaceful," said engineering student Robert Gaspardi, who takes a conservation class in the building.

The center is now formally known as the Ralph Hoffmann Environmental Science and Sustainable Energy Center, and re-opened this fall after $1.5 million and nearly 18 months of renovations. Updating the center, which was built in 1976, has long been discussed at the college.
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