MCCC To Construct University Center- Leaves Students, Professors Concerned

Marisa Murphy
December 08, 2018 – 9:00am

WEST WINDSOR, NJ – On December 3rd, college officials from Mercer County Community College, along with officials from Mercer’s partnered universities and from Mercer County, broke ground as they announced the news of the construction of a new University Center at the West Windsor campus. This construction is to begin next spring and anticipate the completion of the building in the spring of 2020. While the news of an updated facility has captivated the attention of the community, many students and professors are left wallowing in questions that were left unanswered.

The construction of the new University Center at the West Windsor Campus will be, nearly, a year-long project, which left many wondering if academics would ultimately become affected during that time. The current university building is also shared with the fine arts students and the campus’ security office, both of which will become affected during construction.

WBNC News emailed MCCC President Jianping Wang, asking for answers on the newly revealed project, later to be redirected to Public Relations Director of the college Jim Gardner. Gardner, with the help of other outside sources, said that “the University Center building is an integrated addition to the Fine Arts building… facilities for the arts will be improved with this renovation.”

While renovations for the fine arts is a positive move by MCCC, the major concern are the classes held within that building. Gardner responded to this, stating that “the college is making every effort to be sure that no classes, whether in the arts and those given by our University Center partners, are interrupted during the project. This will require that some classes meet elsewhere during the construction period, but we will make the very best accommodations we can.”

While the plan for classes is to be unaffected during the lengthy construction period, Photography Division Director, Michael Dalton, had to make a crucial choice. Dalton was made aware of the plans earlier in the Fall 2018 semester- having him to cancel his film photography classes for the spring.

“There will be no way to avoid disruptions to the classes that use the black and white darkroom and the studio,” Dalton wrote in an email to WBNC News, “I canceled a photo 101 class for the spring semester. I will still need to figure out what to do in the fall semester… If we had more planning meetings and schedule a year in advance of construction, I think we could all work together to minimize disruption.”

Despite the lack of communication between the staff & students and the planning board for the project, the project will not be delayed, as the projected date of completion is for the Spring of 2020.

“It will make an affordable, 4-year degree more convenient and more attainable for Mercer students,” Gardner stated, “give the Fine Arts facilities in the building a much-needed improvement, [and] give the University Center its first true home at Mercer and in doing so will free up existing classroom spaces for use by students enrolled at Mercer.”

This is a developing story. More details soon to follow.

Marisa Murphy can be reached at mmurphy@wbncnews.com