A major construction project is moving right along in Monroe County. Ground was broken almost a year ago on Northampton Community College's new Monroe Campus. It's expected to double student capacity and the number of programs offered. But the hard-hat work is only about half way done.
Northampton Community College's new Monroe Campus is less than two miles from its existing location. But on 72-acres the new spot will transform NCC Monroe.
"Right now we have a campus of about 50,000 square feet for 2,200 students," described NCC Monroe Dean Dr. Matt Connell. "This campus when it's open and fully operational will have 200,000 square feet, three buildings and will have a capacity of 5,000 students."
And construction is right on schedule. Right now, one building is still just structural steel, a second is almost completely under cover, and the interior is the focus of the third.
"There's still a lot of work on the landscaping part of it," added Connell. "We also have to start to build our main entrance."
Crews are using materials and technologies with the lowest environmental impact, including geothermal heating and cooling.
"We've dug about 250 wells and we're probably going to be using that for a heat exchange process for cooling and heating, and we're investigating and probably going to do some sort of solar panels for solar energy."
The campus is set to be open for classes summer of 2014. School officials anticipate increasing from 14 academic programs to close to 40.
"This is something that will bring a great deal of energy and excitement to Monroe County," shared Connell. "It will help meet the educational needs, the workforce training needs and the economic development needs of Monroe County."
The project is still on track to be within the college's $72-million budget. No taxpayer money is being used to fund the construction.