Atlantic Cape Community College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, Jan. 29, to formally dedicate the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math building at the college’s Mays Landing Campus. Nearly 100 college representatives, government officials and donors who played a role in making the building a reality attended.
The centerpiece of the college’s Blueprint 2020 Master Plan, the $16 million project features five science labs, two computer labs, office space and a partially vegetated roof with walkways that will be used for telescope viewing by the college’s astronomy classes. The building is home to the air traffic control and aviation studies degree programs and the Technology Studies Institute. Located on the south side of the main campus quadrangle next to the William Spangler Library, D-building, this project marks the first Atlantic Cape building constructed at the Mays Landing Campus in more than two decades.
The event featured remarks from Dr. Peter L. Mora, Atlantic Cape president; Dr. Otto Hernandez, vice president of academic affairs; Nicholas Cashan III, Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation board president; and Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.
“This structure will provide our students and faculty with a greatly enhanced learning environment in the STEM disciplines,” Dr. Mora said. “These disciplines provide the academic foundation for a wide array of careers that will grow in the future.”
In addition to the modern chemistry, biology and earth science labs, the new building features many amenities that were incorporated with Atlantic Cape students in mind. Highlights include a grab-and-go café operated by the college’s food service vendor, Golden Corral; collaboration rooms where students can work in small groups and write on specially painted walls appropriate for dry erase markers; and an atrium lobby with ample lounge space for students to relax between classes.
Funding for the $16 million STEM building project came from a number of sources, totaling $8 million, plus an $8 million match by the County of Atlantic. Funders included: South Jersey Economic Development District; Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation; federal government, omnibus and U.S. Economic Development Administration funding; Atlantic Cape; and the state of New Jersey, Chapter 12 program.
“I can recall the initial discussions that we had with Dr. Mora and the administration about how the Foundation could support its development and to be here today is a rewarding experience,” Cashan said. “From those conversations, we developed the Create Opportunity Campaign, the college’s first major gifts campaign, which raised an astounding $3.4 million for scholarships and support of the STEM building.”
The 32,475-square-foot, two-story facility, designed by Philadelphia firm Stantec Architects (formerly Burt Hill), received LEED Silver certification for its “green” design. Additionally, with input from students, faculty, staff and external stakeholders through focus group sessions, architects prepared a design that incorporates a palette of materials and colors that complement the colors, textures and scale of current campus buildings, while maintaining the natural quality of the campus landscape.