SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Union County elected officials, school administrators, teachers and students today cut the ribbon on the completed $11 million expansion of the West Hall building for the  (UCVTS).

The two-story, steel-frame academic building serves the district's four-year, full-time Union County Vocational-Technical School High School (UCTech) and has opened with more than 400 full-time students using the facility.

"Future generations of entrepreneurs, communicators, and creators are receiving their education here, honing their skills and learning how to ply their craft," said Al Mirabella, who serves as a Freeholder liaison to the Vo-Tech.

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"We're proud to be investing in our children's future, and it is paying off as Union County's Vocational-Technical education system is one of the strongest in the state and nation," said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, who also serves as a Freeholder liaison to the Vo-Tech.

The 38,000 square-foot addition contains 10 new classrooms, two new computer labs for biology and chemstry-physics, a faculty room, administration office, and a 1,200 square foot fitness center with adjoining health classroom. The total project cost of the expansion - approximately $11 million - is financed through a county bond issue.

The architect for the project was Netta Architects of Mountainside, and the general contractor was Mar-Bridge Enterprises of Matawan, NJ. Pinnacle Construction Managaement of Newark is the construction manager.

"The addition to West Hall is being used to provide all the academic programs for UCTech full time students," said Union County Vocational-Technical Schools SUperintendet Peter A. Capodice. "Last Year, all UCTech full-time students received the academic portion of their program in our Academy for Information Technology (AIT at Bistocchi Hall). Now we hope to grow both the AIT and UCTech programs."

UCTech is one of the five academies at the school, and offers students a four-year, full-time program that combines high-end academics with access to the career or technical training program of their choice. Students at UC Tech follow a comprehensive high school education program while simultaneously prusuing opportunities to study traditional vocational-technical programs. These programs include automotive technology, building trades, communication, public safety, culinary arts and cosmetology, among the 20 programs.

UCTech, recipient of the "National Blue Ribbon School Award" in 2013, also has highly specialized career academies under its umbrella including Exercise Physiology and Related Sciences; the UCTech School of Design, the Teacher Education Academy, the Sustainable Science Academy and the Academy of Clinical Care Sciences.

Union County Vocational Technical High School's shared-time vocational-technical training programs serve 600 Union County high school students in twenty occupational areas as well as over 100 post-secondary adults. The District's apprenticeship program continues to be the largest program in New Jersey serving over 2,500 apprentices.

More than 1,400 students - plus an addition 600 shared time students - attend all five academies of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools system. In 2013 both the Academy for Information Technology (AIT) and the Magnet High School were recipients of the prestigious "National Blue Ribbon School Award". This was the second time the Magnet High School earned the award (2004).