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Originally planned pre-COVID as an in-person grand opening, the much anticipated event will now be a virtual opening as students on the West Haven campus return to classes this week for the Fall 2020 semester. Students began using the Center on Monday.
The virtual ribbon-cutting and remarks from University President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., chief benefactor Samuel S. Bergami Jr. ’85 EMBA, ’02 Hon, and junior communication major Tiara Starks will be followed by a conversation featuring theoretical physicist, futurist, and best-selling author Michio Kaku. The ceremony will be highlighted by a virtual tour of the new facility and is expected to be attended by hundreds of university faculty, staff, students, donors and alumni.
Sitting at the heart of campus, the $35-million, 45,000 square-foot Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation promises to be one of the finest learning spaces in the country. Embodying the University of New Haven’s commitment to preparing the next generation of leaders and problem solvers to excel in the careers of the future, it features the most technologically advanced collaborative classrooms, engineering and science labs, video production studios, a makerspace, and an esports training and competition space dubbed “The Stable.”
The facility and the area around the building were designed to foster an innovative spirit throughout the university community that encourages students – from across all majors – to visit the Bergami Center to collaborate, conceive, and create.
'An exceptional environment... to learn, create, and collaborate'
Named in recognition of longtime University benefactors Samuel S. Bergami Jr. '85, ’02 Hon. and Lois Bergami, the Bergami Center was made possible by donations from hundreds of alumni, staff, and faculty.
"This building's state-of-the-art science learning spaces, its technologically advanced ‘smart' classrooms, and all of its additional pioneering features will provide an exceptional environment for our students to learn, create, and collaborate with each other," said President Kaplan. "Most importantly, it will provide even more opportunities for our students to develop the same forward-thinking mindset that Sam [Bergami] has demonstrated throughout his distinguished career. I am most grateful for Sam and Lois's support, which is making this important initiative a reality."
The facility was built adjacent to Buckman Hall, which houses the Tagliatela College of Engineering, and serves as a primary point of contact for students from across the University interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. The building was designed to help draw together resources from across the campus and to serve as a common space for students to develop and test ideas alongside their peers, with mentorship from faculty, alumni, and corporate partners.
The Bergami Center is the largest building on campus. Architecturally, the building’s form is an intersection of horizontal and vertical masses. To the north, a rectilinear mass represents the traditional linear thought process, while an imposing black brick and glass tower in the center disrupts the mass and symbolizes the necessary interruption in thought that leads to the “aha” moment of discovery.
On the other end, the building curves away, symbolizing the charting of a new course and the unexpected paths opened up by scientific inquiry. An atrium creates a hub of interaction between students and faculty in a casual setting that breaks down hierarchical barriers to collaboration through visual openness.
'We are proud'
Although the Center appends The Tagliatela College of Engineering’s Buckman Hall, it is not exclusively to one discipline but is open to the whole University so that the different parts of our institution and all of its disciplines can be linked together.
The Center cost $35 million to build. Donors supplied over $20 million. The building was financed through a combination of donations and pledges from alumni and benefactors of the University, with the balance being funded through University capital.
“We are proud to be able to make such a worthy investment," said Sam Bergami, a longtime member of the University’s Board of Governors who served as chair from 2006 to 2012.
The building will be certified LEED Gold. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a green building certification program used worldwide. The coveted Gold standard is the second highest of the four LEED certifications, surpassed only by Platinum. Some of the significant energy and sustainability design elements of the Center include advanced energy control systems and commissioning; specified sustainable and recycled products; and management of construction waste. Some of the green building elements of the Center include the use of regional materials and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) wood; natural daylight and exterior views; rainwater gardens; underground stormwater retention; exemplary performance with construction waste management, light pollution reduction, and a projected energy cost savings of nearly 40 percent annually.
We invite you to join us for the Virtual Grand Opening of the Bergami Center on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, at 5:30 pm. The virtual ribbon-cutting will be followed by a live conversation featuring theoretical physicist, futurist, and best-selling author Michio Kaku. To receive an invitation and web link, please email Mike Regan at MRegan@newhaven.edu.