Thousands of Books Remain Unattended at an Abandoned Community College

by Danielle Lane

Burlington County College, also known as Rowan College at Burlington County, moved its main campus in 2017 and its old location still remains untouched to this day. It’s as if a storm had ripped through this small university and has been left waiting for the coast guard.  Although the general structure and architecture are still intact, the floor is littered with trash, walls are filled with graffiti, and classroom furniture has been left flipped over. Science labs are left in pretty solid condition compared to other locations around the buildings. 

The most notable aspect of the destruction is the library. The library is littered with thousands of books, toppled over one another, and no bookshelves left to hold them. It seems that during the school’s abandonment, people forgot to donate the remaining books– or maybe they didn’t care to. Now, the classics such as Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby are left unattended on the library floor.


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Opened in 1971, this university provided a college education for the students of Pemberton Township. Originally, it was the grounds for the education of 1,051 students from Lenape High School. The school eventually gained accreditation as a college. The scope of offerings such as new facilities and programs at the campus continued to grow as time went on. When a partnership with Rowan University was formed in 2015, the rapid growth was becoming more than they could handle

The school closed down due to several issues, including funding and keeping up with the repairs of an older campus. Additionally, many students found it difficult to commute to its main campus. The location wasn’t cooperating with the universities growth any longer. The college had no choice but to make changes as demand was expanding. Today, the main campus is closer to the county’s population center right off Route 38 and the partnership with Rowan University is still there. 


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The abandoned property continues to be passed around in hopes of someone purchasing the facility, but there has been no official deal. There was talk of turning the location into a center for health research and education and public recreation. Nothing has come to fruition. The most promising development came up this past July when Fieldstone Associates of Bridgewater proposed the concept of demolishing the building and installing 452 homes. However, there have been no official moves or agreements made to progress toward this plan with details still being discussed.

There is still hope in the community that this campus can be salvaged and repurposed. The damage done to the interior is not unsalvageable and it would be a waste to leave this facility unattended forever. 


About the Author/s

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My name is Danielle Lane and I am a student at Penn State University starting my junior year. WE ARE!! I'm majoring in Political Science and Communications. I've lived in New Jersey my whole life, specifically in Bergen County, and I intend to return once I complete my education.. I enjoy painting, baking, and spending time with my aussie puppy, Wolf!

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