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Public-private partnership is building performing arts high school in Ocean County, N.J.

June 15, 2017
Facility will be constructed on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River

A public-private partnership will build a new vocational technical performing arts academy on the Ocean County College campus in Toms River, N.J.

Ocean County's current performing arts high school is on a military base in Lakehurst.

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders announced the project this week. The Performing Arts Academy, part of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School (OCVTS) district, is expected to be about 50,000 square feet and will be situated at the entrance to the college campus.

Under the partnership, the state of New Jersey will provide $10.6 million or 40 percent of the construction cost. The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation will contribute $8 million, and the Board of Freeholders will provide $8 million. Ocean County College will make available an allocation of $2 million that could be used to pay down future interest costs if necessary.

"The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders has always made educational opportunities for our citizens a priority," says Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the OCVTS district. "This partnership will allow us to create and provide a state-of-the art performing arts academy to be used by our vo-tech students and our Ocean County College students.

The OCVTS Performing Arts Academy is one of the three academies within the vocational-technical school district. The existing campus is at Hangar I of Navy Lakehurst which is part of Joint Base–McGuire, Dix in Lakehurst. The lease on that space will end soon, so construction of the new facility will be timely.

The Performing Arts Academy offers College Prep, Honors, AP, and College level classes. Global digital technology skills are infused into all academic areas. Students are expected to achieve 160 credits.

"The new building will allow for increased enrollment and provide a unique educational experience for our students," Vicari said.

College President Jon Larson says that by locating the academy on the college campus, the high school students will have access to college courses and all the amenities of the college.

Officials expect the new facility to open in 2019.

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