Modern School Building to Replace West Caldwell's 1920 West Essex Campus, Essex County College Facility

Carolyne Volpe Curley / West Essex Now
West Caldwell, NJ: Groundbreaking ceremony for West Essex Campus, Essex County CollegeEssex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
“We could not provide enough resources and space to meet our students’ needs. That will change with the new spacious campus. This beautiful new facility will allow us to expand our academic programs for degree students and provide more Workforce Development training opportunities for other residents. Our new state-of-the-art campus has been designed to meet the needs of our students.” ~ Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, Essex County College Interim President

On Friday morning, Sept. 10, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that the county is constructing a new school building that will be used by 2022 as the West Essex Campus for Essex County College. Funding for the new construction project comes from the Essex County Capital Budget and a grant from NJ’s Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act (SOCFBA).
West Caldwell, NJ: Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced construction of a new County College school buildingEssex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.

DiVincenzo, Essex County College President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, NJ State Senator Teresa Ruiz, Essex County Commissioner President Wayne Richardson, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, and members of the Essex County College Board of Trustees were met at the groundbreaking ceremony by Governor Phil Murphy who took the occasion to announce $75.6 million in grant monies are available for similar construction projects across the state.

“I want to thank Governor Murphy and Dr. Boakye for their partnership on this project. Building this new campus is an example of what can be accomplished when different government agencies share the same goals and work together to achieve them.” ~ Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.; Essex County Executive

The new 51,700-square-foot college building will provide modern classrooms and will be built at the same location as the 100-year old school which is currently being used by the college.

  • The 1920s elementary school building located on Bloomfield Avenue in West Caldwell, NJ, will be demolished using the services of Two Brothers Contracting, Totowa.
  • The contract to construct the new campus building will soon be put out to public bidding.
Design of new West Essex Campus building, West Caldwell, NJEssex County College

“The new campus will consist of a lot of glass and openness, driven by technology and a modern Information Commons. It will be a place where students want to come and stay. It will be a pinnacle to this County for years to come.” ~ Jim Johnson, Project Designer, Netta Architects of Mountainside

According to a college spokesperson, the new four-story building will include space for the county’s Skilled and Technical Science Academy which is expected to be open in the Fall of 2022.

West Essex Campus of Essex County College
Opened in 1978 as the West Essex Extension Center, the campus offers:

  • Biology and Chemistry laboratories
  • College credit and non-credit courses
  • Computer Institute Labs
  • Conferences
  • Customized training programs
  • Seminar workshops
  • Special programs
Trustees Carman Morales, Rev. Dr. Lanel Guyton, Pres. Dr. Augustine Boakye, Marion A. Bolden, Jeweline GrimesEssex County College

West Essex Campus currently educates:

  • Degree Program: 8,000+ students
  • Non-Degree Program (credit and non-credit): 12,000+ students
“Days like this are what it’s all about. Community college is a lifeline for so many and this new campus will provide outstanding educational opportunities.” ~ Marion A. Bolden, Essex County College Board of Trustees Chair
County Exec, Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., Gov. Phil Murphy, Dr. Augustine Boakye, Jessica Clark, Nicholas MendezEssex County College

Jessica Clark, ECC Students Government Association President, along with the association’s vice-president Nicholas Mendez thanked the governor and county executive for their support and presented them with special gifts College gifts.

Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act (SOCFBA)
November 6, 2018: New Jersey voters approved the funding of grants to improve County College Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs

  • Supported by $500 million bonds authorized by the SOCFBA
  • Distributed by New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) and Office of the Secretary of Higher Education

$500 Million SOCFBA Allocation

  • $275 million: County Vocational-Technical school districts
  • $50 million: County Colleges
  • Remainder: K-12 Schools security projects and water infrastructure needs

Grant monies may be used for projects meant to increase student enrollment and enrichment.

  • County Vocational-Technical school districts and County Colleges have until Feb. 14, 2022 to apply

NJ County Vocational-Technical School District Funding Guidelines

  • Demolition
  • Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Physical plant upgrades
  • Site improvements

County College Academic Structure Construction / Expansion Funding Guidelines

  • Classrooms
  • Computer facilities
  • Laboratories
  • Libraries
Gov. Phil Murphy, center, Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. on left, with group at West Essex campus groundbreaking ceremonyEssex County College

As the governor announced, this will be the second round of the Bond Act CTE Grant Program. The first time the monies became available was July 7, 2021, and at that time, Essex County schools did not receive any grant money.

“I just had to be here today. A project like this requires a partnership, which we have here. Our community colleges touch the entire spectrum of our state. Making these additional funds available is part of our Administration’s key priorities to ensure more New Jerseyans have equitable access to high-paying in-demand careers that will fuel our innovation economy now and through our pandemic recovery.” ~ Phil Murphy, NJ Governor

Second Round New Jersey CTE Grant Program Allocations

  • $23.5 million to County Colleges
  • $52.1 million to County Vocational-Technical High Schools

Second Round SOCFBA Grant Applications Deadlines
Oct. 13, 2021

  • Preschool Lead Remediation
  • Preschool, Charter School and School Security

Feb. 14, 2022

  • County Vocational School Districts
“The career and technical education programs we’re establishing today will provide greater options for students tomorrow. These programs will provide the skills that young people need to thrive in today’s global economy.” ~ Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillian, NJ Acting Commissioner of Education

Previously Awarded: First Round New Jersey CTE Grant Program Allocations

  • $5.6 million to K-12 schools for Water Infrastructure Projects
  • $220 million to County Vocational-Technical School District Projects
“We recognize how crucial these additional funds are to further support our community colleges in delivering high-quality educational experiences and equipping students with in-demand skills. We look forward to collaborating with our community college partners to ensure these critical public investments pave the way for students’ success and New Jersey’s economic recovery.” ~ Dr. Brian Bridges, NJ Secretary of Higher Education

Further information on the SOCFBA Grant Applications
Including timelines, eligibility requirements, and application materials:


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For further information:

Essex County, NJ
Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.; Essex County Executive
465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark, NJ 07102

Essex County College

Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, Essex County College Interim President
303 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102

West Essex Campus

730 Bloomfield Avenue, West Caldwell, NJ 07006

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Carolyne Volpe Curley, a Certified New Jersey Press Journalist since 2012, has appeared on nationally televised productions and interviewed by the international press. Volpe Curley publishes West Essex NOW, a hyperlocal news site covering Essex County, NJ. Volpe Curley graduated from Lafayette College in 1986, with a BA in both English and Government, and a minor in Women Studies and Religion.

Essex County, NJ

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