Hunterdon County Vocational School District gets $20 million for expansion

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The Hunterdon County Vocational School District has been selected by Governor Phil Murphy to receive a $15 million grant to expand vocational and technical education programs, as part of the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act.

Earlier this year, the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners guaranteed a 25% match to the grant, adding another $5 million to the project, bringing the program funding to $20 million.

The grant will add four major career programs – advanced manufacturing, diesel technology, welding technology and HVAC technology – and expand an existing fifth – culinary arts and hospitality – from a full-time timeshare program.

The programs will be housed in a 35,000 square foot building to be constructed on the grounds of North Hunterdon High School. The Hunterdon County Vocational School District – North is scheduled to begin in the fall and be completed for a September 2023 opening.

The new building will also include a rooftop garden that will serve as a culinary arts lab.

“The board and administration are to be commended for securing one of the largest grants Hunterdon County has ever received from the state,” said Commissioner Zach Rich, who serves as school district liaison. . “The school construction plan will improve educational opportunities for our students, and that is the real goal.”

“This will benefit hundreds of Hunterdon County high school students,” said Hunterdon Professional Superintendent Todd Bonsall.

The unique partnership with the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District is a highly collaborative host site campus model unlike any other in the state, Bonsall said.

The five programs will offer 12 major courses over the four years, which is more than double the time of major courses in the time-sharing model, he said. Eight courses will be in the major itself, two will focus on business and entrepreneurship, and two will be work-based learning courses. Academic programs will be taken at North Hunterdon High School.

The district currently serves approximately 475 students through 21 part-time programs and one full-time animal science program offered by Hunterdon County Polytech Vocational and Technical High School. These programs operate on three campuses – Central, Bartles Corner and the Hunterdon County Educational Services Commission. The district also operates three full-time science academies housed in county high schools and a continuing education and adult school.

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Commissioner Matt Holt, another school district liaison, said the consolidation of the professional program that will be achieved through the building plan will not only benefit Hunterdon County students, but also ease the burden of the building lease. expensive current school district in Bartles. Corner.

The proposed new campus in North Hunterdon would house the Culinary Program currently located on Central Campus, with others moving from Bartles to Central Campus, so that the District could end its lease agreement for the Bartles Building. Most importantly, the new campus would allow for the growth of the district in terms of new students and programs.

Bonsall said the expanded programming planned for the new building will help prevent students from crossing county lines to seek similar training with other districts. This trip often comes with high transportation costs.

In total, the new building and programs will benefit 560 students, Bonsall said.

“I’m delighted that this is coming to fruition,” he said. “It will also be a benefit to the various industries in the region. Our goal is to prepare our students for success by not only maximizing their career and technical training, but also by giving them a basic knowledge of how to start and to run a successful business We not only train future employees, we train future employers.

The funding is part of the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act, which was passed by public referendum in 2018 and provides $500 million in infrastructure funding for vocational and technical schools across the state as well as certain other development projects. ‘infrastructure.

“I have long believed that investments in our students and our schools are investments in the future of our state,” Murphy said. “These projects will help our school districts and higher education institutions keep students safe and healthy, while ensuring they are prepared for the careers of the future.”

The Murphy administration is recommending about $317.2 million in rewards for the first round of the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act.

For vocational school districts across the county, the first round will fund 17 proposed projects, totaling approximately $220.2 million. The grants will be administered by the Department of Education.

Projects are submitted to the Legislative Assembly for final approval.

“The infrastructure improvements announced today (May 28) will fund school safety and water infrastructure projects, as well as expand vocational and technical education offerings at our vocational and technical schools. county,” said Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan. “These are major investments that will provide students with more opportunities, safety and security.”

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Cheryl Makin is an award-winning reporting and education reporter for MyCentralJersey.com, part of the USA Today Network. Contact: [email protected] or @CherylMakin.

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