Tech school expansion begins
Article published Feb 13, 2008

By JEANNE RIDGWAY Gannett New Jersey

DEPTFORD -- A $15.5 million construction project has been set in motion at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology where officials hope to boost enrollment from 1,000 to 1,200 high school students over four years.

Tuesday's groundbreaking attracted about 50 school administrators, staff, students and county officials. Making GCIT larger is an investment in education and "in the long-term best interests of all of our residents," said Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi Jr., one of the speakers at the ceremony.

"We already have 670 applicants for 268 freshman seats in September 2009. That means 400 kids are left out," Freeholder-Director Stephen M. Sweeney said. "Here, students get a real chance at life. That's why it's a disgrace to turn kids away."

The county has budgeted $10.6 million for the project, an amount bonded in 2007. In addition, the county will receive $4.9 million in state aid, county spokeswoman Debra Sellitto said.Additions will include 13 classrooms, group instruction rooms, two science labs, a cosmetology lab and shops for the auto/diesel program. Renovations will upgrade an existing cosmetology lab and enlarge a marine technology lab.

The overall two-story expansion -- measuring 30,630 square feet -- will use up all available space on the school's current site, school Superintendent Frederick Keating said.Students attending GCIT take career/technical programs including construction technology, cosmetology, culinary arts and transportation technology.

Other students are enrolled in the school's four themed "academy" programs, which are college preparatory courses. Academy programs include: allied health and medical science, finance and business management, information technology and digital communications, and performing arts.

Charles Boyle, 18, a student from Greenwich majoring in finance, remembers taking a test to enter GCIT's freshman class. "It's pretty competitive. Not everyone who wanted to get in was able to," said Boyle, one of eight students who wielded a shovel at the ceremonies.

Millville-based Tamburro Brothers Construction is general contractor on the project. Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel is architect. Greyhawk of Moorestown will provide construction management services. The project is expected to take a year to complete.


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