By Chelsea Coccia
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College’s Blackwood campus is beginning the final phase of an $83 million project to update some of its older buildings. Taft Hall, known for its dentistry program, will be completely renovated to accommodate a new student services center.
The transformation of Taft Hall is part of the Camden County Transformation Initiative, awarded to the school to update its buildings, some of which haven’t been updated since the 1970s and some even longer, since the school opened in 1967. A report from the State of New Jersey website says design of the building’s renovations is well under way. Vitetta, the architectural company contracted to design the renovations, says the anticipated construction will cost about $6 million.
According to project documents, the building will be receiving renovations through graduation of the spring 2014 semester, though construction will be halted as students and faculty prepare for that event. Additionally, the Camden County College March 2013 Summary states the building will be experiencing extraction of asbestos on an as-need basis starting in April and possibly through to March 2015, implying construction may be continued until the spring semester of 2015.
The development of the building will result in the centralization of student benefit services, such as business offices, financial aid and other administrative offices. Many of the student services are scattered around the campus, making it somewhat difficult for newcomers to the school. Financial aid, located in Wilson Hall, and student advisement, located in the Otto R. Mauke Community Center, are expected to be making the move into the updated Taft Hall.
Student Kevin Arechavala said a student services building was a good idea. “I hate that everything is all spread out like that. I usually go to the desk in the Connector Building and ask them which office I need to go to for whatever problem I have. And even then, I’ll most likely still be sent on a wild goose chase from office to office,” Arechavala said.
The development will make the building a one-stop set-up for students who need to deal with things beyond the classroom.
“It’s nice to see a school giving back to the students,” student Nikole Zane said. “You don’t usually see that.”