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January 22, 2013

NECC expanding to former Lawrence Registry of Deeds site

LAWRENCE — The building that once housed the Registry of Deeds will be razed later this month to create space connecting Northern Essex Community College’s two buildings downtown.

The college is erecting the Dr. Ibrahim El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, a $27.4 million project on Common Street, a short distance from the Louise Haffner Education Center on Amesbury Street.

College President Lane Glenn said Northern Essex is working with Groundwork Lawrence on plans for the 41,500-square-foot building site.

Constructed in 1950 as a courthouse, the building at 281 Common St. housed the Registry of Deeds in the 1990s. The building was empty for more than 15 years before Northern Essex bought it at auction from Capital Asset Management for $203,500.

To prepare the site, the college hired a company last December to remove hazardous materials from the building.

El Hefni Health and Technology Center is being built at the former dilapidated In-Town Mall across the street from the Registry of Deeds.

El Hefni Health and Technology Center is approximately 35 percent completed, with the structure of the building up as well as the roof. Crews are now working on duct work, electrical, plumbing, the sprinkler system and studding. The facade of the 39,000-square-foot building is not yet up, but the building is on schedule to open in the fall.

The center’s 23,000 square feet will house most of the college’s 18 health care associate degrees and certificates. There will be classrooms, labs, offices and simulation centers for phlebotomy, laboratories, intensive-care units, acute-care rooms, general nursing rooms, sleep technology and outpatient areas.

“This is part of a strategy we have to attract restaurants, book stores and other businesses that would develop into a comprehensive college campus,” Glenn said.

The center was designed by architects Miller Dyer Spears who also designed the Hartleb Technology Center on the college’s Haverhill campus. The three-story contemporary structure features sleek silver accents, which use the sun as a source of energy.

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