Essex County College is hoping to draw tech-minded students with a flashy, new campus in West Caldwell that will transform the streetscape along Bloomfield Avenue.
The four-story building with a double-glass facade features color-changing lights that will give the college a “hi-tech look,” according to Nicholas Netta, president and CEO at Netta Architects.
”The school really had no interconnection with the neighborhood around it,” Netta said. “That’s why we positioned the building street-front.”
The makeover is long overdue and will usher the county college into the modern age. For the past 40 years, classes at the West Caldwell campus were held in a repurposed century-old grammar school, which will be demolished.
The design of the new building reflects the internal changes happening at the school. The administration told Jersey Digs it is working on overhauling the curriculum with computer-focused offerings as well as classes in the health and medical fields. The 52,000-square-foot facility will house four computer labs, the Skilled and Technical Science Academy, and the Information Commons.
“We hope to continue meeting the needs of the community in a wonderful new building that attracts the public,” said Dr. Elvira Vieira, Dean at the school. “We will adapt as needed and review possible new offerings by speaking with local high schools as well as local businesses.”
The planning of the building collided with the pandemic, which resulted in more ventilation-friendly terraces and outside meeting spaces that will transform this commuter school into a place for socializing. “It will be a place where students want to come and stay,” said Jim Johnson, project designer for Netta Architects.