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The grand opening of Essex County College’s West Essex campus wrote a new chapter in its 55 years of service to the community. The heavy rain on Friday, September 29, didn’t dampen the enthusiasm inside the new West Caldwell campus building during the grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Today is a joyous day,” declared Dr. Elvy Vieira, Dean of Community, Continuing Education, Workforce Development & West Essex Campus, as she welcomed the over 200 guests who filled the campus’ Multipurpose Room. Guests included Gov. Phil Murphy and wife Tammy, and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
The new building is a 51,700 square foot, two-story structure at 730 Bloomfield Avenue in West Caldwell. It sits on the site of the original campus, a converted 100-year-old elementary school. That building was razed two years ago when construction on the new campus began.
“Back in September of 2021, nearly two years to the day, we gathered to celebrate the start of a new chapter of ECC with a groundbreaking for this building. Now, just two years later, we have an exciting new campus and we look forward to our next journey,” said Marion A. Bolden, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.
“We have solidified our One College, Two Great Campuses vision. Today also marks the official kickoff of our 55 Years of Service to the Community,” stated ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye. “This new, state-of-the-art campus is our fulfillment of our vision of transforming lives,” he added.
Dr. Boakye thanked Gov. Murphy, County Executive DiVincenzo, and County Board of Commissioners for their support in helping make the new campus a reality. Mohamed Seddiki, ECC Executive Dean of IT & Operations/CIO, oversaw the project.
“There is no better example of the extraordinary community college system that we have in this great state of New Jersey than Essex County College,” said Gov. Murphy.
In addition to state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, the new campus includes:
· A 350-vehicle parking deck with a walkway to the main building
· Soccer field for both the College’s Men’s and Women’s teams as well as local high schools
State Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz praised the work ECC is doing for the upcoming generations of students. “It’s the community colleges that are helping people who need the financial and other support to succeed,” she stated.
The audience heard heartfelt praise for the College from ECC Student Government President Yadira Rosales and alumna Annabel Straker (Class of 2021.
Adding to the day’s festivities was a Power 105.1 FM radio stand, provided by iHeart Media, offering up music and giveaways to students.
The College’s Office of Institutional Advancement conducted an Instagram Live and Facebook Live tour of the building with four students and hosted by Alfred Bundy, Executive Director for Institutional Advancement. Participating students included Yadira Rosales, Mark Anifowose, Laila Lawal, and Samirah Scantling.
The Instagram Live tour featured a greeting from Platinum recording artist and actress Naturi Naughton, who grew up in East Orange. The heavy rain prevented Ms. Naughton, who now lives in Brooklyn, from attending the grand opening.