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Ceremonial Groundbreaking: Work on New South Hall to Begin

Middlesex County College held its second ceremonial groundbreaking in 30 days as it celebrated the start of construction for South Hall, which will be a state-of-the-art science laboratory building.

“It’ll be fabulous,” said Parag Muley, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences. “It’ll be an excellent addition to our existing facility that will fill a much-needed niche. It will bring our resources on par with national and international standards as well as incorporate new pedagogies that have been evolving. Students can indulge in self-discovery and self-learn.”

South Hall, which will contain 14 labs for chemistry, biology and general sciences classes, is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016.

“The laboratories in this new building will prepare our students for careers long into the 21st Century,” said College President Joann La Perla-Morales at the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 24. “This new building would not be possible without the support of County freeholders providing the matching funds necessary to receive the higher education bonding dollars that were approved by New Jersey residents two years ago. The timeline to submit a proposal for the bond funding was tight, but a team of faculty and administrators met the deadline with the expressed need for new science laboratories – a priority defined in the recently completed 10-year Master Plan. The wonderful support of the College Board of Trustees, the work of faculty, staff, students and administrators in planning with the architectural team and engineers all resulted in the design of this new building which will be connected to Main Hall where offices and classrooms will keep students and faculty engaged in learning. I thank each of you for assuring that Middlesex County College is positioned to meet the educational needs of our community.”

Funding for the new building comes from the “Building Our Future” Bond, which New Jersey voters approved in 2012. It allocated $750 million for construction projects at the state’s colleges and universities, including $150 million for community colleges.

South Hall replaces two buildings that pre-date the College, from when the site was an Army Arsenal. South I and South II had been used as offices, classrooms and a machine shop. The two were in the news this spring because they were the temporary home for James Monroe Elementary School after its building was lost to fire. The children, teachers and staff called them home for three months. South I and II were demolished this fall.

MCC Board of Trustees Chairman Dorothy K. Power was thrilled to note the addition of another new building.

“Today, we are so excited to be adding a new academic science building with state-of-the-art laboratories to this fine campus,” she said. “Thanks to New Jersey residents for the bond funding, and many, many thanks to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for providing the matching contribution. With your assistance, the trustees and the administration will continue to offer top-notch educational opportunities for our residents.”

Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald Rios also addressed the crowd.

“We realize the incredible impact that Middlesex County College has on its students and on our residents who benefit from the quality education offered here,” he said. “That is why we have given $3.4 million toward this project. Under the guidance of Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, we have used the competitive grants that we have acquired to give the College new lab and classroom space. Our aim is to help the College enhance its chemistry and biology courses, as well as its other health-related and biotech programs. We are especially happy to be here, because for the second time in a month we are celebrating the College’s success and growth. This science building and the Center for Student Services demonstrate our continued commitment to meet the changing needs of our students and offer them the best possible facilities.”

On September 24, MCC broke ground on West Hall, which will bring the services of several departments under one roof to meet the needs of students and their family members for enrollment services such as admission, financial aid, advising, registration, orientation, scholarships and student accounts.

Middlesex’s most recent building, Crabiel Hall, received a LEED® silver rating from the United States Green Building Council, signifying its environmental attributes. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized mark of excellence that provides building owners with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Donald Drost Jr., executive director of facilities management, said the College is attempting to attain a gold rating for both West Hall and South Hall.