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Camden County College Holds ‘Topping Off’ Ceremony for New Building


State, county and local officials joined Camden County College administrators, faculty and staff and members of Ironworkers Local 399 on Oct. 26 for a “topping off” ceremony to celebrate a construction milestone on CCC’s new $30 million science building. The structure is part of the $83 million Blackwood Campus transformation project that was announced by the College and the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2005.


A groundbreaking ceremony had been conducted exactly one year ago to the day for the three-story, 107,000-square-foot building that will allow CCC to educate more students, increase the number of courses offered and expand curricula in academic areas such as dental programs, hospitality and practical nursing. When completed in 2012, the building will feature 10 biology labs and six chemistry labs clustered around a central preparation area. There also will be a lab for the medical laboratory technology and veterinary technology programs; a surgical suite for the surgical technology program; 27 conventional classrooms and lecture rooms; expanded facilities for the Dental Hygiene Clinic; a demonstration kitchen; a student-run café; and a Nursing Arts Center.


Camden County College Board of Trustees chairman Kevin G. Halpern served as master of ceremonies. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Gloucester Township Mayor David R. Mayer sent written greetings. Offering brief remarks, in addition to College President Raymond Yannuzzi, were Deputy Freeholder Director Edward T. McDonnell, Freeholder Ian K. Leonard and state Sen. Donald Norcross, a CCC alumnus.


Norcross expressed how different the campus looks today from when he attended CCC in the 1970s. He also acknowledged the significance of the building to the College, its students and to the community at large.


“It’s about education, it’s about jobs, and it’s about making sure that tax dollars are being spent well,” he said. “The education that they provide here at Camden County College is the best value of any institution anywhere we can find in America. Affordable, quality education – that’s what it’s all about.”


Leonard, who is the Freeholder Board’s education liaison, concurred and noted that the building is employing construction workers now – at a time when there is very little construction taking place in the region and nation – and will help students find employment in various scientific fields later.


“It’s truly amazing when you see projects like this, especially in this economy,” he said. “It’s truly a testament to Camden County and the College.”


Topping ceremonies emerged from an event conducted when the first stone building was completed in Egypt in 2700 B.C. and evolved through various incarnations as the custom spread throughout Europe and Asia. The version practiced in the United States today involves placement of a live evergreen tree and an American flag on an I-beam to mark completion of the infrastructure and bestow good luck upon the building and its users.


Those in attendance watched as the beam was put into place by a pair of ironworkers. Attendees then signed a ceremonial I-beam that was created by the College’s computer integrated manufacturing area for the occasion. The piece will be displayed in the completed building as a part of its décor.

Published: October 28, 2011