Cumberland County Improvement Authority land purchase to move technical school forward

Published: November 22, 2013
Written by Spencer Kent / South Jersey Times


Cumberland County Technical SchoolProposed new full-time technical school in Cumberland County.

VINELAND — The Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CCIA) is close to finalizing a deal to purchase the last parcel of land needed to build the proposed new Cumberland County Technical Education Center on the Cumberland County College campus.

The CCIA and county officials are negotiating to purchase the 38-acre parcel of land from real estate development company RD Management, based out of New York.

At a recent CCIA meeting, the authority approved a resolution that would allow them to lock down a deal with RD Management, once a final offer is agreed upon.

The parcel of land is located between Route 55 and College Drive on the college campus, behind the campus' athletic fields and baseball diamonds.

Jerry Valazquez, executive director of the CCIA, said there's an offer on the table that he feels is in line with the property's appraised price. However, Valazquez did not want to comment on the amount of the offer is until a deal has been struck.

Freeholder Deputy Director Doug Long, who is heading the new technical school project, anticipates that a deal will be finalized soon. "I can tell you that we are very close," Long said. "It's exciting — the last pieces of the puzzle coming together before we bring Cumberland County into the 21st Century with education and economic development."

The proposed 200,000-square-foot facility will be a four-year, full-time high school with academic and technical disciplines fully integrated. The new school would replace the current Cumberland County Technical Education Center (CCTEC) in Bridgeton.

Once a deal with RD Management is reached, the next stage would be for the CCIA and county to apply for debt service aid from the state.

The facility plans would be submitted by Garrison Architects of Marlton to the New Jersey Department of Education for approval. Cost of construction for the entire project is estimated at $70 million, of which debt service aid is anticipated to cover more than 70 percent of the bill, or about $50 million.

Valazquez said the final contract to purchase the land from the RD Management is contingent upon the debt service aid.

"There is no point in purchasing the property without the debt service aid," Valazquez said. "So, acquiring debt service aid is key."

If and when the county acquires debt service aid from the state, the project would go to the county freeholder board for discussion and ultimately a vote. Construction of the school could follow, based upon that vote.



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