In 1947, the President's Commission of Higher Education brought the concept of the community centered school into reality. The community college movement gained impetus throughout the United States during the 1950s with the burgeoning student population which began following World War II.
goals of providing an educational service to the entire community, and discovering and developing individual talents at low cost and easy access
In Atlantic County, various groups urged that a college be established in this area with the goals of providing an educational service to the entire community, and discovering and developing individual talents at low cost and easy access. The Citizens Centennial Committee on Adult Education for Atlantic City was instrumental in stimulating interest in a local college. The efforts of such groups, combined with those of educators, legislators and individuals, resulted in the passage of the New Jersey State law, which established county colleges in 1962.
Following the passage of the New Jersey County College Act, a special committee of County Freeholders and educators prepared a study, which showed the need for such an institution in Atlantic County. In December 1963, the State Department of Education granted approval for the establishment of Atlantic Cape, which became the second college to be organized by the state on April 14, 1964.
The site for the college was selected on November 19, 1964, and official ground breaking ceremonies for its nine-building complex in Mays Landing were held in November 1966. Atlantic Cape opened its doors to students in September 1966, using facilities rented from Atlantic City High School.
In February 1968 the college moved to its present campus at 5100 Black Horse Pike (U.S. Route 322) in Mays Landing.
In the spring of 1982, major work was completed on a two-year, $7 million expansion project. This project included two new buildings, expanded student service facilities, the Academy of Culinary Arts and additional classroom and office space.
In that same year, the former Atlantic City Electric Company building, located in Atlantic City, was purchased by Atlantic County for Atlantic Cape. By 1984, a $4 million renovation project transformed the aging building into a beautiful modern facility.
In 2004-05, a $2.6 million renovation provided upgrades to the HVAC system, and building improvements including new sidewalks, fencing, landscaping and signage.
The William J. Spangler Library was expanded and renovated in 1990, which added a mezzanine level, a computer lab with space for more than 90 personal computers, faculty and administrative offices, small study/meeting rooms, a classroom/meeting room and typing, video and audio tape rooms.
The Academy of Culinary Arts facility, which opened in October 1991, features more than 29,000 square feet of space. The entrance opens to an atrium lobby. The building provides teaching kitchens, classrooms, a 70-seat gourmet restaurant with a 25-seat greenhouse room, service and storage areas, and administrative and faculty offices.
Atlantic Cape in Cape May County
Since 1973, the College has been the main provider of community college education to Cape May County residents. For many years, Cape May County officials studied ways to bring better higher educational opportunities to its residents.
In July 1995, the New Jersey Higher Education declined the county's request for an independent college and recommended that it enter into a partnership with a neighboring community college, citing such benefits of a joint college as a larger population base, economies of scale, immediate availability and accreditation of curricula, and elimination of duplication of efforts and costs.
Cape May County requested joint proposals which were due in February 1997 and, as a result, on January 1, 1999, ACC officially became a joint college between Atlantic and Cape May counties. The Board of Trustees approved a new name for the joint college: Atlantic Cape Community College (Atlantic Cape) in February, 1999.
CMCC opened in August 2005. The new 68,000-square-foot facility features a brick façade and two wings that house an information commons that includes a combination library and computer lab; a 100-seat lecture hall; a full-service cafeteria; and 19 classrooms—including chemistry and biology labs, three academic computer labs, two continuing education computer labs and one distance education classroom. In addition, Atlantic Cape provides support services facilities, including counseling, testing, tutoring and financial aid offices as well as administrative offices at the new campus.