By Deanna Roma
County College of Morris will expand one of their most popular academic areas by constructing a $10 million Engineering and Manufacturing Building predicted to begin in the early months of fall 2019, according to a press release by CCM.
The building will consist of 30,000 square feet of classrooms and labs. The exact location of the building is not yet finalized and will be determined in the near future, but one of the areas being considered is the patch of grass between the Health and Physical Education Building and the baseball field. Funds for this building are being fully provided by the state, the county, private donors, and private grants.
“The [building] was designed to support degree seeking students and provide training for existing employees at manufacturing companies throughout the region,” said Karen VanDerhoof, vice president for business and finance. “CCM’s new facility will allow the college to increase the number of students it serves … while also working [to] expand the number of partnerships it has with area employers.”
This high tech building will not only help with engineering majors and students seeking an associate degree for transfer purposes but will train individuals in fields involving production technicians, biomedical technicians, electronic assemblers, and maintenance technicians. With additional access to a new virtual hospital this building will also make a major impact in helping with future employment needs in the area and CCM’s health science program.
Some of the features that this building will include is two prototyping labs, quality control and measurement labs, a 3D printer room, 10 station welding labs, two electronic labs, materials labs, lecture halls and classrooms, faculty offices, and a student lounge.
CCM President Dr. Anthony Iacono said that the college administration had planned this for the “better part of the year” and that they had communicated about it with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and members of local engineering, manufacturing, hospitality, technology, and health care to learn about the industry’s current challenges and projected growth. He said that what the industries all had in common that they expect rapid growth, meaning that they will need more workers for added jobs and to replace retiring workers.
“Understand that on any given day, we’re always talking to these industries,” Iacono said. “We’re in the community a lot, or they’re on the campus. And we do have an advisory committee for nearly all of our programs, and it’s industry specialists who have come in and talked about, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening in the current industry; this is what students need to know.’ It’s part of how we make sure our curriculum is current and it’s relevant so that students who are in various programs are going to come out with course skills that are useful for transfer or immediate work entry.”
Eric Pedersen, mechanical engineering technology and physics laboratories coordinator, said that he was excited for the updates because with the new equipment, his students will need more room to work. He said that his department probably has 20 students per section in the machine shop in downstairs Sheffield Hall.
“We really need about twice the amount of equipment so nobody’s getting a bottleneck on different projects,” said Pedersen, who teaches a prototyping class at CCM. “I think for the size of the room, we have the right amount of equipment . For the amount of students in the major, we need like double the space.”
Pedersen said he is excited to introduce the Haas brand of mills, which perform the functions of drill presses but with moving tables. Haas will replace the CNC brand, which Pedersen said will not give students the proper training they need.
“They’re good mills, but they’re not what the students are going to see in the workforce,” Pedersen said. “They’re going to see the Haas stuff.”