SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Union County elected officials, school administrators, teachers and students cut the ribbon on the completed $11 million expansion of the West Hall building for the Union County Vocational-Technical School High School Tuesday.
The two-story steel-frame academic building serves the district's four-year, full-time Union County Vo-Tech 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.
"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, also a Freeholder liaison to the Vo-Tech.
The 38,000 sq. ft. addition contains 10 new classrooms, two new computer labs for biology and chemstry-physics, a faculty room, administration office and a 1,200 sq. ft. fitness center with adjoining health classroom. The project 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. 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," UC Vo-Tech Schools Superintendet Peter A. Capodice said. "Last year, all UCTech full-time students received the academic portion of their program in our Academy for Information Technology (AIT). 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 program that combines high-end academics with access to the career or technical training program of their choice. Students follow a comprehensive high school education while pursuing opportunities to study programs, such as automotive technology, building trades,culinary arts and cosmetology.
UC Vo-Tech's shared-time vocational-technical training programs serve 600 high school students in 20 occupational areas and over 100 post-secondary adults. The district's apprenticeship program serves over 2,500 apprentices.
More than 1,400 students - plus an addition 600 shared-time students - attend all five academies of the Union County Vo-Tech system. In 2013, both AIT and the Magnet High School received the prestigious "National Blue Ribbon School Award."