Update on Courniotes Hall Fire Response

Over the course of the past three months, the College has been busy responding to the immediate needs of the impact of the fire that occurred in July affecting Courniotes and Lissa Halls. As a reminder, these halls housed many of our health science programs, including nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and public health.

Understanding that our primary obligation was to ensure AIC students’ continuity of studies, administration immediately began identifying unused or underused spaces on campus where to begin a temporary relocation of academic programming. In partnership with the clerk of the works, the College identified three buildings on campus that could serve as temporary classrooms, clinical spaces, and faculty offices. The three buildings identified include:

  • The building formerly known as Curtis Blake – Over the course of the past three months, renovations were completed to its office and meeting spaces to meet the needs of the health science programs in addition to reviewing the HVAC. The building houses fifteen (15) offices and two (2) larger conference/student support spaces.
  • Amaron Hall – This building houses the majority of the School of Business, Arts, and Sciences. The ground level and first floor had offices and classrooms that needed renovation to meet the needs of the program. The ground level provided for fourteen (14) faculty offices and three classrooms. The first floor provided three classrooms.
  • Colaccino Center for Health Sciences – There were four available, unused offices that became spaces for the dean and three faculty members.

While the College was able to identify sufficient faculty offices, classroom spaces, and modify some spaces to be used for clinical spaces, there were unmet needs. In particular, the College needed to ensure the availability of nursing simulation lab spaces, which are fundamental to the delivery of the nursing program’s curriculum. It was not possible to recreate these spaces in such a short turnaround time. However, AIC received outreach from the leadership of the flagship of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the dean of nursing offered one of their satellite locations in downtown Springfield, less than two (2) miles from campus for AIC to utilize during this transitional period.

The College accepted his offer and has embarked on a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As part of this collaboration, the College is leasing their nursing simulation lab at UMass Springfield Center, guaranteeing that critical nursing coursework can continue without interruption, enabling students to gain practical experience in a state-of-the-art facility that mirrors real-world healthcare settings. As a result of this partnership, the College was able to continue with traditional course scheduling with minimal interruptions to students’ learning experiences.

The use of the UMass Springfield Center space will be a temporary reprieve for the need for nursing simulation labs for the 2023-2024 academic year. The College is hoping to build temporary nursing simulation labs in the Lissa building.

The Occupational Therapy (OT) program offers labs in the fall and the spring, similar to the nursing program. Fortunately, the OT program was able to utilize existing space for the fall simulation labs. However, the spring labs require much more space and technology than is currently available. The College is hoping to build temporary OT simulation labs in the building located at 1067 State Street.

With the space in the Colaccino Center and the reduction of students in the Physical Therapy (PT) department, the College can accommodate the PT labs in the Colaccino Center.

The College has begun the process of reimagining the use of Courniotes Hall, assuming the temporary nursing and OT labs can become permanent labs, freeing up space in Courniotes Hall to utilize for other programs, thereby creating space for innovative teaching and learning in line with the College’s vision statement.

Additionally, the College is embarking on a two-phased approach to fundraising for the reimagined Courniotes Hall. We are currently in phase one of the reimagination of Courniotes Hall – conceptualizing and designing an entirely new and state-of-the-art educational space. Your support today helps AIC build momentum and allows all members of this community to make an immediate impact on this initiative. Phase two will commence when construction begins – and we make this bold vision a reality. We welcome all to support this project throughout both phases, and look forward to sharing AIC’s vision for the new Courniotes Hall once those plans are in place.

To make a gift in support of the Courniotes Hall Reimagined project, please click here.

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