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Funding Awarded Through State Bond Programs

Burlington County College (BCC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded more than $4.5 million from the State of New Jersey for its proposed capital and equipment projects. Today, Governor Chris Christie and the Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks announced the list of the 176 approved higher education state-supported bond projects sent to the Legislature. All of BCC’s projects were among those approved.

“I am very pleased that the College will be receiving these state funds for much needed technology upgrades,” said Burlington County Freeholder Director Joe Donnelly. “We look forward to working with the College to assure that our students have the latest educational resources to help them succeed.”

To help the College secure the grant funding from the state, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, under the advice of Freeholder Director Joe Donnelly, agreed to match funds up to $500,000 for the technology projects. “I would like to thank Governor Christie for his support of higher education and especially county colleges through the funding of these grants,” said Donnelly.

The projects, which include the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), Next Generation Educational Technology Project (NGET), and Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (CAST), will be funded through three state-supported bond programs administered by the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority (NJEFA) and a match of $500,000 from Burlington County. BCC’s students and professors will greatly benefit from a more robust technology infrastructure, digital classroom technology, equipment upgrades, and a dedicated space for collaborative learning, workforce development, and BCC’s growing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

“We could not have been more excited to learn that we were awarded every dollar we requested,” said BCC President David C. Hespe. “Thanks to the funding from the state-supported programs and the County, students will see great improvements at the College. BCC students will directly benefit from better and more advanced technology as they compete in today’s workforce and transfer to four-year institutions and premier research universities with sophisticated and state-of-the art programs.”

BCC received a total of $4,573,881 from three state-supported bond programs including the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund (HETI), Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF), and Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund (HEFT). Through the funding, BCC will upgrade the College’s technology infrastructure, provide better access to instructional technology and resources in the classrooms, and establish a science and technology center in the Lewis M. Parker Center, located on the Pemberton Campus.

“I can speak for the students when I say that this is great news for BCC, as well as for the students on campus. Receiving this grant money provides more technology and room for us to grow as students in our respective fields and will enable us to utilize state-of-the-art equipment and the newest technology available,” said Joseph Hyland, incoming BCC Student Government Association (SGA) President. “This grant money will address two of the major concerns expressed by the students, in that the bandwidth on the Pemberton campus needed an upgrade and the third floor of Parker building needed to be renovated so that it was not a vacant space on campus. We are very ecstatic receiving this news and look forward to seeing these upgrades and renovations to our college soon.”

The HETI funds and a $500,000 grant from the County will go toward BCC’s NGEN project, which will provide the necessary technology foundation needed to support the continued growth of student, faculty, and staff-based voice, video and data traffic on BCC’s network. BCC’s existing network infrastructure at its primary locations, Pemberton and Mount Laurel, is nearly nine years old and cannot compete with the network technology available today. The NGEN project will replace the existing core and edge network switches, as well as the existing wireless network access points. Leveraging BCC’s NGEN, students and faculty will reap the benefits of a true digital learning environment with increased bandwidth, faster network and application response, and seamless Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) support. A better technology foundation will also support instruction and on-line and blended learning platforms.

The ELF funds will go towards providing more digital classroom technology and relevant equipment for professors and students, particularly within the growing STEM disciplines, to meet the workforce demands of southern New Jersey. This NGET project will help digitally enable 100 percent of BCC’s viable classrooms with next generation audio visual (A/V) and instructional technologies. Currently, only 50 percent of BCC’s classrooms offer digital A/V technologies. The project will entail replacing and upgrading existing older classroom equipment, as well as installing equipment in classrooms that are currently not digitally enabled.  

BCC’s new Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (CAST) will be developed through HEFT funds. The new center, an interior renovation and instructional expansion in the Lewis M. Parker Center, will have dedicated STEM classrooms, lecture halls, collaborative and group learning space, laboratory/training facilities, and areas for workforce development and veterans. Providing this collaborative learning environment and related educational equipment and resources will provide the relevant infrastructure to support student learning and professional and academic success in high-demand science and technology fields.

The statewide, voter-approved, “Building Our Future Bond Act” (the “GO Bond Act”) and four NJEFA bond programs, the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) (for which BCC was not eligible), HETI, ELF and HEFT, represent the first significant investment to the state’s higher education infrastructure in 25 years. BCC did not seek the $9 million of funds set aside for the College by the state through the GO Bonds authorized last November. The College plans to further engage the BCC community to develop concepts for GO-Bond supported projects.

“The State recognized that in order to successfully attract and retain the best and brightest students, there needed to be a significant investment in capital improvement projects for New Jersey’s colleges and universities,” Hespe said. “This investment will have a substantial and positive impact on BCC students and provide better opportunities for career and college success.”