GCIT shows class project:
A significant expansion


By Jessica Driscoll
jdriscoll@sjnewsco.com

Published: Thursday, February 19, 2009

DEPTFORD TWP. The Gloucester County Institute of Technology will now be able to accommodate as many as 240 additional students, thanks to an expansion and renovation project that was unveiled Wednesday.

The 30,630-square-foot expansion includes 10 new classrooms, four science labs, three small-group instruction areas, a new automotive technology instruction area and an 11,692-square-foot renovation that upgraded an existing cosmetology lab, added a new cosmetology lab and relocated a marine technology lab for additional space.

"This is one of the finest schools in the community and there has been a great demand on it," said Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen Sweeney. "We've been turning away too many kids and we need to provide the opportunity for kids to get training and achieve in the fields of their interest. We are investing in this school to make sure there are seats available for each student who is appropriate for the program."

According to Superintendent Ellen Herdegen, GCIT receives up to 800 applications a year but can only accept approximately 260 students. The expansion will allow the school to add 60 more students each year for four years, ultimately providing opportunities for 240 additional students.

"The facility and the faculty we have here are second to none and our programs are the envy of our colleagues in the state," said Herdegen. "This expansion will give us the opportunity to work with more of the wonderful young people we see here every day."

The GCIT project, funded by the county, was completed on time and came in under budget. The architects implemented green design to make the expansion more efficient and environmentally friendly.

"With the design of the building, we made sure to infuse holistic green building design in every aspect of construction," said Brooks Garrison of Garrison Architects. "Implementing that design teaches the children to be responsible with resources, saves money and sets an example for future conservation."

Garrison said the use of sustainable products did not cost any more than conventional building materials and would ultimately save the school in energy costs.

Some of the green designs included in the expansion are stormwater management, site lighting to reduce light pollution, controlled-flow toilets and metered faucets, recycled construction materials, computerized automatic temperature controls, high-efficiency water heaters and boilers and well-insulated roofing and windows.

In addition, the classrooms are wireless and utilize the most up-to-date computer technology and equipment available today.

"It's wonderful to have such a state-of-the-art facility for the students of Gloucester County," said GCIT instructor Dr. Gina Mateka. "They really are classrooms of the future."

GCIT is composed of several career-technical programs where students can learn a trade and also academy programs organized within schools, which allow students to integrate college preparation around a career theme. Both programs share a board of education, equipment, facilities and staff.

The freeholders are in the planning stage of a March groundbreaking for a further expansion of the technical school and academy programs, which will ultimately bring the population of GCIT to more than 1,500 students.

 

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