BY DEREK ALLEN
Performing arts students will soon be free of cramped DeMare hall classrooms. The County College of Morris Board of Trustees held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept 9 for the Music Technology building, the newest addition to the CCM campus.
The $8.5 million facility will be an extension of the Student Center, housing two recording studios, an electronic music lab, an aural comprehension lab and a piano lab. The building will also hold a less than traditional type of theatre – a theater in-the-round – where the stage is the center of the room with approximately 125 seats surrounding it.
“Since 2007, enrollment in our music technology programs has grown 36 percent,” said Dr. Edward J. Yaw, CCM president. “This new facility not only will address that growth but allow CCM to build upon the strengths of its music and performing arts programs.”
Some students have been questioning the new building being built, with recent budget cuts affecting CCM programs and staff.
“They don’t realize that that pot of money was given to the college specifically for the new building,” said professor Marielaine Mammon, chairperson of the music, dance and performing arts department. “Which didn’t come from the college. It didn’t come out of our salaries or tuition.”
Funding for the new building came from the state of New Jersey, and from Morris County through the Building Our Future Bond Act, which provided $750 million for New Jersey colleges.
Mammon said the money could’ve gone to other community colleges, but CCM possessed the need.
“The way it happened, our Dr.Yaw was actually very instrumental,” said Joe Bilotti, a music theory professor. “The state said there’s money available for the building to the first people who could get to the front of the line with the plans in their hand who could promise a completion date. We were all engaged and the college went to bat for that.”
Mammon said that out of the 19 community colleges in the state, CCM is the only college with degreed music programs. While other colleges offer only music courses or options, CCM attracts students from Warren, Passaic and Sussex all for the musical theatre and music degree programs.
Once completed, the new building will house classes for digital media technology, media technology, music, drama and music recording.