College merges three buildings for a CAT center

blm-center-for-tech1-cBLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield College had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 8, for the school’s new Center for Technology and Creativity. The facility will bring together both old and new creative disciplines, including painting, game development, music technology, student performances and special-effects filming.

The center is itself a combination of the old and new and made up from a number of pre-existing buildings now connected by new additions.

One of the buildings was the former student center on Liberty Street. This has been attached to the building next to it, the former college bookstore. The first and second floors of both structures are now connected and the bookstore has been connected to the first and second floors of the college library next door, at 86 Oakland Ave. at the corner of Liberty Street. The total floor space of the buildings making up the center is 26,000 square-feet.

The ribbon cutting was held inside the center, in a performance rehearsal space, known as the “black box.” On the ceiling were armatures for lighting equipment that had yet to be attached. The college president, Richard Levao, welcomed everyone to the event. He said that ordinarily the ribbon cutting would have been held outdoors but the weather was much too hot.

Levao said without the cooperation of the township helping the school with its compliance requirements, the center would not have opened in September and for a school, that is crucial.

“If you’re late by four days, it’s just like being late by four months,” he said.
Creative arts and technology, or CAT, he said, is all about creative endeavors that bring together many disciplines.

“Technology and creativity are part of the beginning of expression, from the caveman’s drawings,” Levao said. “Since the dawn of man, there has been a reaching out for greater capabilities from technology for self-expression.”

As an example, Levao said the type of piano on which Mozart composed and played would have been incompatible to the self-expression of Beethoven.
“CAT is all about using technology and new means of expression,” he said.

The CAT division will have eight full-time faculty members and 28 adjuncts.
One faculty member, Yuichiro Nishizawa, said the CAT center was “a much-debated building.” He acknowledged that “other divisions need a makeover” and the center “represents an investment in a time of struggle.” But he recalled how the division was started 20 years earlier in a single room.

Deborah Collins, deputy Essex County executive, said there was a need to provide people with technological training.

“It’s up to the students to move this country in the right direction,” she said.
According to Bill McDonald, the vice-president of campus planning, the center cost $8.2 million; $2.2 million came from a state bond and the balance from Bloomfield College cash reserves.

Bloomfield Administrator Matt Watkins and Bloomfield Councilman Carlos Pomares were in the audience for the ceremony.