The Morris County Freeholders will participate in the County College of Morris (CCM) “Visioning the Future” Capital Campaign for a new college Media Center by allocating $1 million in the county’s 2015 capital budget for the project.
Freeholder Director Kathryn DeFillippo made the announcement during the freeholder board’s public meeting January 28 in Morristown, and said the new CCM Media Center will be named in honor of the late Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, a former Morris County freeholder and a former CCM Trustee.
“Alex DeCroce was chairman and a longtime member of the County College of Morris Board of Trustees during the college’s infancy,” DeFillippo said. “His foresight helped to pave the way for making the college the outstanding educational institution it is today.”
DeCroce’s widow, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, was present at the announcement and thanked the freeholders, the college administration and its board of trustees.
“The County College of Morris was very important to Alex,” said an emotional DeCroce. “I cannot thank you enough.”
“Visioning the Future” is a public-private capital campaign partnership that has raised approximately $900,000 for a new Media Center.
The new facility on the college’s Randolph campus will replace one that officials say is obsolete with old equipment, for which replacement parts are hard to find or are no longer made.
“The freeholders’ have always considered our capital allocations to the County College of Morris to be wise investments,” said Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. “This is no exception.”
He noted two years ago, the freeholders allotted $2.5 million to allow the County College to build a new Music Technology building to house the college’s popular and growing music technology and other performing arts programs and to renovate its engineering labs.
The college’s Media Center functions as a TV studio and a classroom for Broadcasting Arts and Technology and Communication students, who use the facility to develop media skills and to receive “hands-on” technical training in such areas camera work, lighting, sound, staging, editing and graphics.
However, Dr. Edward J. Yaw, CCM president, told the freeholders during the public meeting that while the industry has advanced to digital and high definition/digital production, the Media Center’s format is still analog. Yaw said for students to transfer successfully to four-year academic programs or to work in the media industry, they must receive education and training in a modern facility using today’s technology and formats.
Technology in the new Media Center will be upgraded to high definition/digital. A teaching studio and support facilities including a control room and an edit suite will be built, Yaw said.
A second or professional studio, distinct from the teaching studio, will also be constructed and surrounded by a scenery/work room, a mechanical room, a technical engineering room, a studio control room, a studio editing room, a secondary production room and a “green room” for on-air guests.
“The freeholder board has prioritized capital project funding for CCM, and it is especially important to see the projects involve engineering, technology and communications, all providing skills for today’s competitive job market,” said Freeholder John Krickus.
According to Yaw, a business plan is being developed to make that studio available to the area’s corporate and business community, who would pay a fee to use the facility for original productions, with that fee dedicated to the Media Center’s further development.
Parallel equipment ranging from HD/digital cameras and fiber optic cabling to state-of-the-art mixing and editing equipment will be installed in both the teaching and professional studios.
“CCM students will become proficient in the equipment in the academic studio and will later be able to operate that equipment in a professional setting on selected assignments,” Yaw said.
While the main focus of the Media Center is on CCM students, Yaw noted the facility is also a vital resource for faculty, staff and the community at large, providing multimedia support for everything from classroom presentations, audio and television productions, sound and video for computer programs and on-campus conferences.
According to Yaw, the Media Center in 2014 provided about 500 services for the campus and the community, including non-profits, government organizations, the Morris County government and the N.J. Department of Consumer Affairs.
The CCM Media Center is also partnering with Verizon-NJ on its Community Access program to provide HD resources to municipalities within Morris County to create original programming.
The new Media Center will enable CCM students to be trained in capturing content and working in HD/digital formats to produce work that can be delivered via traditional television broadcast, online and wireless over hand-held devices, Yaw said.
“The result will be a new generation of CCM students whose training rivals that of the finest academic institutions in the region,” Yaw said.