College begins construction of South Hall science facility

EDISON — Middlesex County College held its second ceremonial groundbreaking in 30 days as it celebrated the start of construction on South Hall, a state-of-the-art science laboratory building.

“It’ll be fabulous,” said Parag Muley, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences. “It’ll be an excellent addition to our existing facility that will fill a much-needed niche. It will bring our resources on par with national and international standards, as well as incorporate new pedagogies that have been evolving. Students can indulge in self-discovery and selflearn.”

South Hall, which will contain 14 labs for chemistry, biology and general sciences classes, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

“The laboratories in this new building will prepare our students for careers long into the 21st century,” College President Joann La Perla-Morales said at the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 24. “This new building would not be possible without the support of county freeholders providing the matching funds necessary to receive the higher-education bonding dollars that were approved by New Jersey residents two years ago.”

Funding for the new building comes from the “Building Our Future” bond, which New Jersey voters approved in 2012. It allocated $750 million for construction projects at the state’s colleges and universities, including $150 million for community colleges, but required a 25 percent match for each project, which the freeholders provided.

South Hall replaces two buildings that predate the college and were part of an army arsenal on the site. South I and South II had been used as offices, classrooms and a machine shop.

The two buildings were used last spring as the temporary home for Edison’s James Monroe Elementary School after it was destroyed in a fire. South I and II were demolished this fall.

On Sept. 24, the college broke ground on West Hall, which will bring the services of several departments under one roof to meet the needs of students and their family members for enrollment services such as admission, financial aid, advising, registration, orientation, scholarships and student accounts.

Middlesex’s most recent building, Crabiel Hall, received a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, signifying its environmental attributes. Donald Drost Jr., executive director of facilities management, said the college is attempting to attain a gold rating for both West Hall and South Hall.