Union County Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak (4th R) led the ground breaking on the construction of a $11 million expansion of the West Hall building for the Union County Vocational-Technical School High School in Scotch Plains. He was joined by (from left) Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover, Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, Union County Schools Interim Executive Superintendent Kathleen Serafino, UCVTS Board of Education President Jane Lorber, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, UCVTS Superintendent Peter Capodice, Freeholder Bruce Bergen, Freeholder Vernell Wright and Union County Deputy County Manager William Reyes. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
SCOTCH PLAINS— Union County elected officials, school administrators, teachers and students today broke ground on the construction of a $11 million expansion of the West Hall building for the Union County Vocational-Technical School High School.
The expanded, two-story, steel-frame academic building will service the district’s four-year, full-time Union County Vocational-Technical High School (UCTech) and will open in September, with more than 300 students expected to be using the facility.
“We’re hoping the next generation of Union County’s entrepreneurs, builders and creators will be educated here,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak, who also serves as a Freeholder liaison to Vo-Tech School Board. “We’re proud to be investing in our children’s future, and it pays off as Union County’s Vocational-Technical education system is one of the strongest in New Jersey.”
The 38,000 square-foot addition will contain 10 new classrooms, two new computer labs for biology and chemistry-physics, a faculty room, administration office, and a 1,200 square foot fitness center with adjoining health classroom. The total project cost of the expansion—approximately $11 million—will be financed through a county bond issue. The architect for the project is Netta Architects of Mountainside, and the general contractor is Mar-Bridge Enterprises of Matawan, NJ. Pinnacle Construction Management of Newark, is the construction manager.
“The addition to West Hall will be used to provide all the academic programs for UCTech full time students,” said Union County Vocational-Technical Schools Superintendent Peter A. Capodice. “At this time, all UCTech full-time students receive the academic portion of their program in our Academy for Information Technology (AIT at Bistocchi Hall). This will allow us to grow both the AIT and UCTech programs.”
UCTech is one of the five academies at the school, and offers students a four-year, full-time program that combines high-end academics with access to the career or technical training program of their choice. Students at UC Tech follow a comprehensive high school education program while simultaneously pursuing opportunities to study traditional vocational-technical programs. These programs include automotive technology, building trades, communication, public safety, culinary arts and cosmetology, among the 20 or programs.
UCTech, recipient of the “National Blue Ribbon School Award” in 2013, also has highly specialized career academies under its umbrella including Exercise Physiology and Related Sciences; the UCTech School of Design, and the Teacher Education Academy.
Union County Vocational Technical High School’s shared-time vocational-technical training programs serves over 600 Union County high school students in 23 occupational areas as well as over 150 post-secondary adults. The District’s apprenticeship program continues to be the largest program in New Jersey serving over 2,500 apprentices.
More than 1,300 students—plus an additional 580 shared time students—attend all five academies of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools system. In 2013 both the Academy for Information Technology (AIT) and the Magnet High School were recipients of the prestigious “National Blue Ribbon School Award”. This was the second time the Magnet High School earned the award (2004).