Expansion to address classroom needs at Gloucester County College

Saturday, December 18, 2010
By Jessica Driscoll

DEPTFORD TWP. Gloucester County College broke ground Friday on its new University Center,a $6.5 million, 24,000-square-foot facility that will house 13 smart classrooms and be built at no net cost to county taxpayers. Design is by Garrison Architects of Marlton.

The University Center will be used by GCC during the day to accommodate the college's increasing enrollment and need for classroom space and will be used in the evening by Fairleigh Dickinson University for undergraduate and graduate programs. Other affiliations with four-year universities are also anticipated to offer advanced degree programs in the future.

The county freeholders bonded $3.5 million for the project, which the college will repay using funds paid by FDU for leasing the space. The remaining $3 million toward the building came from leftover funds from an expansion at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the students of Gloucester County to be affiliated and have opportunities with these universities," said Deputy Freeholder Director Bob Damminger. "This will keep our kids where we, like them, in Gloucester County, and will give the college 13 additional classrooms during the day. Gloucester County has always been committed to this college and that commitment will continue."

GCC President Dr. Russell Davis called the groundbreaking a "monumental day for us all." "Thanks to our freeholders, the board of trustees, the Foundation and many others, we have the ability to go beyond expectations," said Davis. "We are expanding, enrollment is up, our retention rates are up and our graduation rates are high."

Enrollment at GCC hit an all-time high this semester at more than 6,600. In 2007 GCC hit record enrollment with 6,081 students registered for credit courses. Those numbers don't include the number of students taking non-credit courses through the College's Division of Continuing Education.

Freeholder Joe Brigandi, who has been the education liaison in the county for many years and is leaving office after Dec. 31, said it was "another great day for the finest education complex in the state."

"This freeholder board hasn't been afraid to put its money where its mouth is," said Brigandi. "This college has one of the highest retention rates and the lowest tuition rate in the state. This groundbreaking is a nice way to close out my freeholder career."

Student Government Association President Cody Miller said the University Center would only expand the extensive opportunities the campus already provides its students.

"You are allowing students to receive an affordable education and to succeed in today's world economy," said Miller. "This college makes students want to stay here, excel and become the future leaders of tomorrow."


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