The groundbreaking was the fourth in recent weeks for the college, which is slated to receive $19 million from the state for construction and renovation.
A $750 million bond referendum for education projects will fund 75 percent of the law and justice expansion, paying $1,499,508. The county makes up the difference, or $499,836.
The bond referendum proposal, approved by voters in fall 2012, was combined with other state sources to create a $1.3 billion pot in the spring of 2013. Other GCC projects include the Nursing and Allied Health Center ($8,573,526 from the state), Business and Corporate Center ($532,575), Adult Center for Transition ($4,015,800), and Student Services and College Readiness Now Center ($4,386,906).
"This is the higher education bond at work. But that bond doesn't work if it doesn't come into the county and the county accepts their role and relationship and their matching percentage, and this county has done so," said Frederick Keating, the president of the college.
Next week, GCC will transition to a new name, Rowan College at Gloucester County, to reflect a new partnership with Rowan University to offer increased transfer opportunities for students.
Speakers at Tuesday's groundbreaking discussed that partnership and the other GCC construction projects, praising the school in general for progress and expansion.
Also in attendance were two state senators, Donald Norcross (D., Camden) and Fred Madden (D., Gloucester).
Norcross, described by Freeholder Director Robert Damminger as "one of the pushers of the higher education bond act," represents the college as part of his district.
It is also in the First Congressional District he would represent if he wins his race this fall for the House seat left vacant by Democrat Robert E. Andrews, who has stepped down.
"Back in the late '70s, in a community college just a little north of here, Camden County, I actually was a law enforcement public administration major. And we didn't have a special building, we didn't have any of that, and now we look at, today, Gloucester County College is now the premier school for law enforcement education," Norcross said.
Madden is also director of the Police Academy and dean of law and justice at the college.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Madden said, two changes were clear in the police community: More dogs and better use of technology were needed.
"And the world of technology has changed so much since the 9/11 terrorist attacks that the opportunities that need to be provided for our students on a baseline are more critical now than they were then. And the college will provide that," Madden said.