Springfield College has purchased the Holy Family Rectory located at 235 Eastern Avenue, adjacent to the campus. The College will next lead efforts in renovating the property, which will serve as a community engagement center focused on educating students, while engaging with community members to address community needs.
A team of Springfield College staff and students, coordinated by Springfield College Director of Student Volunteer Programs Charlene Elvers, is developing a plan for the new center. The group is currently in the brainstorming stage. Some early ideas include an exchange center for clothing, books, and other items, and possible space for tutoring and workshops.
“Ideally, this center will match the needs of our communities-the community of neighbors surrounding the campus and the college students, faculty, and staff at Springfield College-and lessen the feeling of separateness,” said Elvers. “This center has the potential to link the issues that students care about with the things they believe they can change, providing a platform to develop students as leaders in service to humanity.”
Springfield College students will actively be involved in the refurbishing of the space, providing them a unique, hands-on experience in helping renovate a landmark building to serve as a community resource. The College values its partnerships with its surrounding neighborhoods, and once again will collaborate with its campus partners when recreating this space.
“We were motivated to acquire this space to design and create a civic engagement center that serves the community and that provides valuable real-life experience training to our students so that they may become engaged civic leaders after they graduate," said Springfield College President Mary-Beth A. Cooper.
Cooper helped lead the work on the outside of the center during the College’s annual community service day, called Humanics in Action Day. Cooper was joined by several students, staff, and faculty, on that day, as they worked together to clear brush surrounding the facility.
Upon renovation, the center will be just a quarter of a mile from the Springfield College Campus Union, the hub of the campus; will consist of two major floors; and a full-scale kitchen, basement, and attic space.