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Middlesex County reaches design milestone in the Community, Innovation, and Opportunity (CIO) Strategic Investment Plan

County officials tout progress on Phase 1 of the CIO Plan and expect to begin construction in the fall

Post Date:05/14/2024

 Group Shot CIO

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – Middlesex County announced the completion of design in Phase 1 of the Community, Innovation, and Opportunity Strategic Investment (CIO) Plan on Tuesday, May 14 at the North Lawn of Middlesex College. The event showcased the completed designs of the Multipurpose Venue, the Student Center, and the new Middlesex County Magnet School, marking a pivotal point where progress becomes tangible, and construction is poised to begin. Attendees dove into the new designs through virtual-reality technology, enabling a true immersive experience.

Sharing the significance of this milestone, speakers included Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Rios; Middlesex County Administrator John Pulomena; Middlesex College President Mark McCormick; and Middlesex County Magnet Schools Superintendent Jorge Diaz.

“We’ve been touting this plan since November 2022 and we are beginning to see our vision take shape. The CIO Plan isn’t merely an aspiration or a ‘hope’ of ours, it’s a reality,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “For all of us who call Middlesex County home, the CIO strategy will be a game-changer in our economy and the quality of our lives – this includes improving the lives of students, faculty, and staff that work and attend this College.”

“These amazing additions to our campus will provide new and enhanced opportunities for our students to learn, study together, and engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities including athletics and student clubs,” said Middlesex College President Mark McCormick. “Working closely with Middlesex County and the contractors, College administration will seek to minimize disruption to day-to-day campus operations and is committed to regular communication with the College community regarding the construction phase.”

“Students from every municipality in the County are eligible to attend our Magnet Schools. Building this new Magnet School means we will be able to serve even more students,” said Middlesex County Superintendent of Schools Jorge Diaz. “Its location here on campus will make it convenient for our students to participate in dual enrollment programs. It will also help us to continue building our relationship with the College and the County.”

Also commemorating the announcement was Congressman Frank Pallone, a crucial partner in obtaining critical federal investment in this project.

"Higher education is an investment in our country’s future and economic strength. This innovative new plan will help meet the challenges students in the classroom face today and bolster Middlesex County’s reputation as an institute for learning and a destination for cultural and sporting events,” said Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-6). “I’m glad to see that federal funding from the American Rescue Plan is a critical part of Middlesex College’s transformation into an educational beacon for tomorrow’s workforce. I’ll continue to help deliver the funding our universities and colleges need to support a well-rounded education for students of all ages.”

Designs have been completed on three structures comprising Phase One of the CIO Plan, and upon construction, will bolster Middlesex College and the Magnet School district, as well as enhance community engagement:

  • The Multipurpose Community Venue will be a state-of-the-art location for concerts, cultural events, and sports such as baseball, soccer, or lacrosse. The 3500-seat space will be built to Big Ten, NCAA, and Minor League Baseball certifications, and relevant FIFA certifications for soccer. For gatherings, special events, and for a more premium spectator experience, there will be eight boxes, and food and beverage accommodation.
  • The Middlesex College Student Center, a 35,000 square foot space, will be a centerpiece of Student Life and Culture, complete with game rooms, meeting and study spaces, and a fully operational restaurant. The Middlesex College Culinary Arts Department will leverage the space to increase enrollment and give students real-world, hands-on culinary experiences.
  • A new 75,550 square foot Middlesex County Magnet School will be constructed to offer new majors and educational opportunities for County students, and will also enhance the dual enrollment program, which allows Middlesex County Magnet School high school students to enroll in Middlesex College classes. This new Magnet School will also bring new degree programs including Sustainable Energy Technology; Information, Communications, and Cybersecurity Technology; BioTechnology and Plant Science, and more.

The completion of the design milestone is a key point where Middlesex County can go out to bid for construction, with the goal of a potential groundbreaking event in the fall.

First announced in November 2022 as a part of Middlesex County’s Destination 2040 Strategic Plan, in partnership with the State of New Jersey, the Community, Innovation, and Opportunity (CIO) Strategic Investment Plan will expand the educational offerings of both Middlesex College and the Middlesex County Magnet School system and will turn the College’s campus and surrounding facilities into a multi-faceted destination for the region. The CIO Plan represents a partnership with the County, the State, and the federal government to fund this project. The County’s funding is made possible due to the fiscal strength of Middlesex County – avoiding additional debt or loans and minimizing the financial impact on residents.

For more information on the CIO Strategic Investment plan, visit middlesexcountynj.gov/cioplan.

Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios.

Multipurpose Venue

Student Center

Magnet School

Plaza

Middlesex County Administrator John A. Pulomena (3)

Middlesex College President Mark McCormick (1)

Middlesex County Magnet Schools Superintendent Jorge Diaz

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