Gloucester County College breaks ground on expansion to student services building


Published: May 9, 2014
South Jersey Times

GroundbreakingElected officials and Gloucester County College administrators officially broke ground on a new, two-story expansion to the college's student services building on Friday, May 9, 2014

When Gloucester County Institute of Technology Senior Natalie Quindlen heads to college in the fall, she’ll have quite the head start. The Deptford resident will be heading to University of the Sciences in Philadelphia with a whopping 77 college credits already under her belt, propelling her to junior status and years ahead in her six-year occupational therapy program.

And it’s all thanks to being able to access affordable, college-level courses at Gloucester County College during her high school career, said Quindlen, who spoke about her experiences at the groundbreaking for a 20,345-square-foot addition to the student services building on Friday morning.

The official groundbreaking of the two-story expansion marks the college’s increased efforts to build connections with local high schools through its new Center of College and Career Readiness, which fosters the kind of programs Quindlen was able to take advantage of and will be housed in the new expansion.

“It really helped me jump start my career and I couldn’t be more thankful,” she told the crowd of elected officials, administrators and college staff and students.

Out of the $6.14 million project, aimed to be completed by October 2015, about $5.8 million in funding comes from the Building Our Future Bond Act, where 75 percent of the cost is picked up by the state and 25 percent by the county. The remaining funds are covered by the 2014 capital budget. The expansion,designed by Garrison Architects of Bellmawr, will also add six classrooms with smart technologies to the currently 16,300-square-foot facility.

“When we did this bond act, some counties went in a little bit, this county went in all-in, which means a serious investment from the county” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who added Gloucester County received the second largest amount of money through the bond act in the entire state. “What you’re doing is seeing the creation of higher education right here on this little campus.”

State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Don Norcross talk during the groundbreaking of an expansion to Gloucester County College's student services building May 9, 2014.

State Sen. Don Norcross (D-5 of Camden) called the college — soon to become Rowan College at Gloucester County when an agreement signed earlier this year takes effect on July 1 — “revolutionary” and “another brick in the wall that’s building such a fine educational system.”

Nearly every speaker heralded the work of GCC President Fred Keating during the morning’s groundbreaking, with Freeholder Director Bob Damminger saying Keating brought together a faculty that was often disgruntled and frustrated with the college’s operations.

Now, he said, “I see faculty who are happy and students who are being served properly.”

Keating however, directed the praise to staff members who worked every day with students to find the educational and career pathways that would work best for them. Intensifying the relationship and cooperation between the college and high schools is one of the pieces they “thought was missing,” said Keating.

“This county believes in education and as a result, we are doing the things we’re doing. They’re aggressive, they’re bold, and this college community is coming together and has come together,” said Keating. “It’s my hope and my goal we can stay together.”

Design for the improvements is by Garrison Architects of Bellmawr.


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