OCVTS Performing Arts Academy at Ocean County College

THE PEOPLE:

William P. Hoey, Jr.

Superintendent of Ocean County Vocational Technical School. Since OCVTS was founded in 1959, they have educated over 169,000 members of the surrounding communities. They currently have three full-time academies for high school students, the Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Sciences (MATES), the Performing Arts Academy (PAA), and the Academy of Law & Public Safety (ALPS). In addition, they offer course work in service occupations, health technologies, construction trades, transportation technologies, and design & visual communications for high school students and adults.

Jon H. Larson

Ph.D., President of Ocean County College. OCC is a two-year, public community college. OCC is an innovative academic leader, providing affordable, student-centered, high quality educational experiences that prepare and empower diverse learners to contribute to and succeed in
global societies.

Joseph H. Vicari

Freeholder Director serves as the liaison to Ocean County Vocational Technical School.

John C. Bartlett, Jr.

Freeholder serves as the liaison to Ocean County College.

Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Ocean County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, acting in concert to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.

THE IDEA

The OCVTS Performing Arts Academy is currently located inside historic Hangar One at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.  With its lease soon expiring, the Ocean County Freeholders, OCVTS, OCC, and the Foundation came together with the idea of moving the Academy to the OCC campus.  From these discussions, the plan for a new 57,000 square-foot building was born.

Not only will the new building house everything from a black box theatre to dance and recording studios, it will also host classroom space and learning labs.  This new facility will be shared by OCC and OCVTS, allowing expansion of college programs in the performing arts. High school students enrolled at the PAA will also be able to earn college credit while still in high school.  Students will also have the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and an OCC associates degree.

This project is truly a collaborative effort, with the Grunin Foundation playing a major role.  The $26.7 million project is being funded 40% by the State of NJ ($10.6 million), 30% by the Foundation ($8 million), and 30% by the County of Ocean ($8 million).

THE IMPACT

Studies have shown that a performing arts education is linked with academic achievement, social development, emotional growth, and community involvement.  Students attending the PAA will not only study in a state-of-the-art facility, they will receive a first-class education.  Enhanced performing arts training will empower graduates with the practical skills for higher education and/or a professional career in the arts. The academy offers four majors: theater, vocal, dance and audio engineering.

OCC President Jon H. Larson said, “The future students of the performing arts school will be able to cut the cost of their college tuition in half by earning an associate degree at the two-year college at the same time they earn their high school diploma.”

THE UPDATE

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, an announcement ceremony was held at OCC.  In addition to an exceptional performance by students of the PAA, the public was able to hear for the first time the plans for this incredible venture.  Also, at this time, the Grunin Foundation challenged OCC to raise additional funds to support academic offerings and cultural programs at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts. Should $5 million be raised through this Challenge Grant before December 2020, Jay and Linda Grunin will waive their naming rights to the Performing Arts Academy.

Groundbreaking for the building is scheduled in 2018, and the building is anticipated to open in 2020.