Sacred Heart University student-learning facility to break ground in summer

This summer, Sacred Heart University will break ground for a planned new learning center dedicated to helping SHU students and young students from the surrounding region achieve success in their educational pursuits.

Called the “Student Success Center” at this point in its evolution, the state-of-the-art general learning facility will be similar in size to the university’s recently completed health and wellness center.

Scheduled for dedication by fall 2015, the new learning center is being designed to focus on enhancing student learning, testing and achievement.

“The current plan for the center is for it to house three different offices that will work together to help promote student success during their time at Sacred Heart,” said Laura Niesen de Abruna, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “The Center for Teaching and Learning will provide all students with tutoring for their academic programing. There will be professional tutors and student tutors to help students in math, writing and the natural sciences. In addition, the Office of Special Services will provide support and accommodations for students who need specific help with learning.

The second office is intended to house our laboratory for literacy in which our graduate students in Education will provide tutoring in reading to children in the Bridgeport Public School System. Finally, the Global Affairs Office will help promote the internationalization of the university.”

The new structure will include two stories above ground and sit on a roughly 25,000-square- foot parcel on the corner of St. Nicholas Road and Park Avenue, directly adjacent to the president’s residence, said Marc Izzo, executive director of university construction.

Designed to resemble a large, stately residence, it will have stone veneer on the lower levels to match existing stone retaining walls, brick on the second story and a gabled half-story space at the top. The structure will also resemble the new SHU Wellness Center in physical character.

The plan is for the first floor to house the Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as reception, offices, a learning lab and a conference room. The vision for the second floor is offices, a testing center and the tutoring center. The gabled room at top will hold a variety of electronics, environmental and other equipment, Izzo says.

Maximize potential

“The proposed Student Success Center represents an exciting opportunity for students to maximize their abilities and get the most out of their university experience,” said Michael Kinney, senior vice president of finance and administration. “Additionally, the new Center will allow us to better meet the educational needs of area students in this region in a 21st-Century facility designed specifically to enhance a wide range of learning requirements.”

Kinney said that he is hopeful that other programs will take advantage of this new space, allowing SHU to expand its study-abroad program, which currently includes relationships in Luxemburg, Ireland, Italy and more. It will also serve as a student-training resource for SHU’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education.