Willard-DiLoreto Officially Opens With Ribbon Cutting

Maria Basileo, Photography Editor

Central Connecticut’s massive renovation project, Willard-DiLoreto, formally opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the halls’ conjoining atrium last Wednesday to a crowd of students, professors and faculty.

CCSU President Dr. Zulma Toro and alum Carol A. Ammon delivered the celebratory cut, and guests like New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian were also in attendance.

“The centralization of services in this building – Financial Aid, Registrar, Veteran Services, The Learning Center – in one convenient place, I truly believe, will improve the student experience,” Ojakian said.

The 143,000-square-foot building includes 24 classrooms, 57 academic offices and 50 student services offices, as well as the academic departments for philosophy, modern languages, journalism and English.

“I think it’s beautiful. It’s so well put together. It has a lot of different resources in one spot,” Nyaire Simpkins, a worker in The Learning Center, said.

Ammon, a 1973 alumna, jump-started the buildings’ construction by donating $8 million in 2010 toward CCSU scholarships and programs. CCSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences was then subsequently renamed after her. At the ceremony, she expressed she is happy with the completed project.

“I’m standing here overwhelmed and I’m hoping that I don’t come to tears,” Ammon said. “To any student who’s out there listening right now, I would just say, you’ve started on a journey that will be incredible because of the preparation you will get at this university.”

The project broke ground in Nov. 2016 as offices and classrooms were temporarily moved to Carroll Hall, a former dormitory, for the 25 months needed for construction.

“It’s a big difference. There’s a lot more space. It’s a lot more organized,” Simpkins said about the differences between The Learning Center in Carroll and the new building.

Downes Construction Company, with the help of Chief Architect David Barkin, were given a $63 million budget to renovate and join the two aging buildings with a 35,000-square-foot indoor common area for students.

“This complex includes much needed and deserved improvements. Improvements to our academic spaces including the much-celebrated addition of air conditioning in DiLoreto Hall,” Dr. Toro said as the crowd laughed and cheered.

Construction around CCSU’s campus continues as the process of replacing the Kaiser Annex Bubble with a new recreation center progresses. Renovations to Barnard Hall also begin this spring.

Emma Hart Willard Hall was named after an American women’s rights activist in 1972 after it had previously been named and operated as the Elihu Burritt Library starting in 1959.

Frank J. DiLoreto Hall was built in 1969 and named after a New Britain native and state senator who passed important legislation regarding Connecticut’s university system.

Ammon earned her biology degree from CCSU before establishing her own company, Endo Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in pain management, in 1997.

“Beyond its modern design and structural upgrades, these buildings offer our students something equally as important – that is the centralized location where they can conduct most of their business with our student services offices,” Dr. Toro said. “Sometimes it is the simplest things that make the biggest difference.”