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Convenient Classrooms

11/30/2011

From left, MCLA President Mary K. Grant, BCC President Paul Raverta and U.S. Rep. John Olver earlier this fall as they celebrated the opening of the Education Center at Conte.

This spring semester MCLA will offer classes at a newly established facility in downtown Pittsfield. The Education Center at Conte, inside the Silvio O. Conte Federal Building, features 4,700 square feet in college classroom, office and meeting space.

Part of a unique agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration, it's the first time that space for public higher education has been allocated inside a federal building.

"We are excited to have a presence in downtown Pittsfield," said Kelly Jourdain, program coordinator in the Division of Continuing and Professional Education. "This facility shows how we've expanded - as well as our commitment to growth - as we offer classes to those who live and work throughout the Pittsfield community."

Beginning in January, MCLA students can choose from three undergraduate and two graduate (education) classes taught at the Center. Its location will provide convenient access to students who normally commute to North Adams from the Pittsfield area, as well as adult learners who may work in central Berkshire County, Jourdain said.

Morning courses, such Dr. Nancy Ovitsky's "Service and Event Marketing," which starts at 7:30 a.m., will allow students to attend class before they go to work. In addition to meeting face-to-face, students in this hybrid class will learn online.

Other undergraduate classes include Dr. Len Paolillo's sociology and interdisciplinary studies course, "Education and Labor," and James Moriarty's "Contemporary Business and Organizational Issues," another hybrid class, which will start at 8:30 a.m.

The Center also will offer graduate courses in Education. They are "Ethics and the Foundation of Schooling" and "Literacy, Acquisition and Development."

According to MCLA President Mary K. Grant, the Center provides an important opportunity for the College to expand its courses and programs in Central Berkshire County. It's just a short walk away from another Pittsfield building where MCLA students can take classes: the Intermodal Education Center is operating at a capacity of more than 2,200 people a year.

That success prompted officials to look for additional space to meet the increasing demand for college courses in Central Berkshire County. With some help from the office of U.S. Rep. John Olver, MCLA and Berkshire Community College (BCC) administrators began talking with officials from the U.S. General Services Administration about possible lease arrangements for classroom space within the Conte Federal Building.

Like the Intermodal Center, the Conte Center serves both MCLA and BCC. It also provides space for Berkshire Readiness Center, a state-funded teacher development initiative, as well as for professional development workshops and group meetings.

Registration for spring classes begins on Dec. 1.

For more information about the graduate classes in Education, contact MCLA's Education Department office, 413-662-5381, or the Registrar's office, 413-662-5095. To learn more about the undergraduate courses, call Jourdain at 413-662-5576.