Gloucester County College University Center construction on schedule


Published: Friday, December 02, 2011, 4:00 AM
By Jessica Driscoll/ Gloucester County Times Follow

DEPTFORD TWP. — Construction of Gloucester County College’s new University Center is moving along close to the anticipated timeline, and the college is on the brink of dual enrollment agreements with three universities that have operations on-site.

“We were briefly concerned that we weren’t going to be roofed for the winter season, but with the break we’ve had with the weather and the manpower on site, we will be able to close up for winter,” said GCC Interim President Fred Keating, noting that the roof is being installed on the 24,000-square-foot facility this week. “We’re about a month behind in the construction, but that won’t make or break our plans for the facility. The original April date for the CO (certificate of occupancy) will probably be pushed to May, but we’re still on target to put students in there in fall 2012.”

Keating said the college is now in talks with three of its four universities with on-site recruitment and advisement concerning the establishment of dual enrollment relationships. GCC and Rowan University announced their dual enrollment partnership for a liberal studies degree in September — effective fall 2012 - and signed a similar agreement for their nursing programs in June.

The other three universities, which currently have a presence in GCC’s Career & Academic Planning Center, are Fairleigh Dickinson University, Wilmington University and Rutgers University. According to Keating, representatives from FDU said they will come back to the campus in January to sign a dual enrollment agreement. Keating is set to meet with Wilmington officials this week and hopes they’ll sign on for four courses of dual enrollment — liberal studies, business studies, criminal justice and nursing. And he said GCC has reached out to Rutgers-Camden hoping to establish dual enrollment programs in nursing, business studies and liberal arts.

“The CAP Center will be the nucleus for these dual enrollment programs,” said Keating.

The University Center — a $6.5 million building that will house 13 smart classrooms — will accommodate the college’s increasing enrollment and need for classroom space as well as these new on-campus degree options.

When GCC broke ground on the center in December 2010, to a design by Garrison Architects of Marlton, officials announced that the county freeholders bonded $3.5 million for the project, and the remaining $3 million came from leftover funds from an expansion at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

Keating said construction on the center is still under budget.

“Also, the fact that four-year universities are coming onto our soil means we’ll generate revenue to offset the mortgage payment for the building,” said Keating. “County residents will get an enhanced college campus with a chip-in from the four years on the rental relationship.”

Keating said GCC will be starting technology and furniture orders for the center next week to avoid the hold-ups that occur when local colleges and universities all order at the same time.

“I’m optimistic we can have everything brought into the region and warehoused,” said Keating. “And I’m very optimistic that this project will come in relatively on time. We’re through the biggest components of construction.”


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