The EASTCONN Board of Directors has named its Hampton Conference Center wing the “Paula M. Colen Annex” in honor of retiring Executive Director Paula M. Colen.
The board announced its decision, and surprised Colen with a bronze plaque, during her September retirement party in Woodstock. Colen, who has led EASTCONN as Executive Director for 12 years, joined EASTCONN in 1980. Last winter, Colen announced her plans to retire at the end of September 2017.
Longtime educator and former Avon superintendent Gary S. Mala succeeds Colen as EASTCONN’s third Executive Director.
“I was surprised and very touched that the board so generously chose to recognize my years with EASTCONN this way,” said Colen. “I am truly honored.”
In contemplating how they could pay tribute to Colen’s legacy at EASTCONN, the Executive Board decided that it would be a fitting gesture to name the annex after her.
“The board was unanimous in its decision to recognize Paula’s many years of service to this agency and to the EASTCONN region by naming the Hampton annex in her honor,” said EASTCONN Executive Board Chairman Herb Arico.
Colen led the agency’s decision to build the annex nearly 7 years ago, to accommodate a growing staff, and to provide adequate conference meeting space for the region’s educators, school districts and communities.
Construction of the 12,000-square-foot, $6-million annex began in November 2010, and in spite of its being one of the worst winters (85 inches of snow) in recent memory, the building was finished ahead of schedule and 2.5% under budget, opening its doors officially in thesummer of 2011.
During construction, Colen was frequently seen, bundled against the cold and snow and wearing a hard hat, touring the two-story annex’s progress.
A fall 2011 ribbon-cutting was attended by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, state legislators, board members, staff and agency partners.
The Colen Annex houses sizeable meeting spaces as well as EASTCONN departments, including Teaching and Learning, Technology Solutions, Birth to Three, Early Childhood and Conference Office staff and services.