By Charles Stephens
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – A utility company is using a parking lot on the north side of the Blackwood campus as a staging area for pipe installation in the region.
Atlantic City Electric is placing its pipes in the parking lot off Madison Drive. Kay Byrd, the director of events and facility services, said this parking lot was chosen as a place to put the pipes because it is a good size to hold them. The original location for the pipes was going to be parking lot 14 but that would have been too close to another building.
Both Camden County College and Atlantic City Electric benefit from this project. Atlantic City Electric gets a place to put its pipes while waiting for installation and Camden County College gains an opportunity to lower enrollment costs. Byrd added letting the electric company place its pipes in the parking lot is a way for the college to help the community.
The pipes started arriving on Dec. 1, 2016 and the lease to use the parking lot remains in effect until July 31, 2017. As of March 2, 73 pipes were sitting in the parking lot and Byrd said she doesn’t know how many more will be coming. But no matter how many more pipes arrive, there shouldn’t be any problems with parking and the timing of the pipes being placed. Atlantic City Electric sends a truck over twice a day, early in the morning and at about 4 p.m., so students don’t have a problem entering and leaving the area. Fences are placed at the entrances and exits of the parking lot so no one tries to enter it.
“This way the parking lot has easy flow and no congestion. We don’t want to hinder students getting in and out of school,” Byrd said.
Before the pipes could be placed in the parking lot, College President Donald A. Borden and the general counsel had to approve of using the parking lot for this purpose. The approval process took two months. As the primary contact, Byrd had to have several meetings with the project manager and the counsel. Meetings between college contractors, Atlantic City Electric, public safety and Gloucester Township also took place over the course of those two months. The college also had to get the approval of the Board of Trustees.
“This is our first time doing something like this,” Byrd said. “So far no mishaps have happened, thank God.”