Mercer County Community College is awarded $9 million by the state to improve STEM education

Written by: Brian Calvert

I n May of 2013, Mercer County Community College was awarded $9.7 million dollars by the state to improve science, engineering, and computer programs and facilities.

The funds come as part of the Building Our Future Bond Act, a statewide initiative to improve higher education in New Jersey.

“This is a move that is long overdue and critical if we expect to attract the brightest and best students and faculty,” said Mercer President Patricia Donohue.

MCCC will complete two projects with the funds. First, the college will renovate science and computer classrooms on the West Windsor Campus, expand math and science classrooms in the James Kerney Campus, purchase new computers and technology, and expand WiFi coverage on both campuses.

Second, the college will add a new 1900-square foot laboratory to the West Windsor Campus’ Engineering Science building, and will purchase equipment for the lab.

The Building Our Future Bond Act, approved by voters in November of 2012, provides $750 million dollars in state bonds to public universities and colleges across the state for the improvement of academic facilities and capacities, with a special priority for projects dedicated to improving STEM education, according to the text of the Act.

“New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and prosperity are directly related to the quality and capacity of its colleges and universities. Higher education is the foundation of this State’s economic well-being as well as being critical in the realization of individual success,” according to the text of the Building Our Future Bond Act.

“This infusion of funds for construction projects on our local campuses is great news,” said Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, in a press release. “Mercer County already has one of the most highly skilled and educated labor pools, and this funding will help the County draw in and retain the brightest of the bright.”

“Projects that are deemed construction-ready shall receive priority,” according to the Act’s text. President Donohue, said that “When we got ready to write for this bond issue, we selected our projects right off [our facilities construction master plan.]”

Mercer and other funded institutions will have to provide 25 percent of the funds for the proposed projects. The text of the Act stipulates that the Building Our Future fund will only provide “75 percent of the cost of the project.”

“In addition, a major investment in higher education sends a positive message to the business community and serves as a magnet for innovators and entrepreneurs seeking to tap in to the latest advancements in technology,” said President Donohue.

Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Mercer County among the Top 10 Best Cities for STEM graduates, due to the high number of pharmacology and biotech firms companies in the area. The area around Princeton is colloquially referred to as “Einstein’s Alley,” due to the density of STEM companies.

MCCC’s new construction is an initiative to produce high-quality students for work in Mercer County’s science, technology, engineering, and medicine firms, and for work around the country.

 

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