School may be out for summer, but the New Jersey Alliance for Action gathered representatives from many of the top colleges in the state to discuss a wave of construction about to explode on New Jersey campuses.Philip Beachem, president of the NJAA, addressed the audience.
“This is a major stimulus for the construction community: the materials and supplies that go into these jobs, contractors, and design and architectural engineering firms that are working on them. It’s a major plus for revenue for the state of New Jersey,” he said.
Many of these construction projects have been made possible as a result of a $750 million higher education construction bond that was approved by N.J. voters in November 2012. This figure was augmented by Gov. Chris Christie the following spring, when he added $550 million to the available capital funding pot.
Rochelle Hendricks, secretary of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, provided the keynote address.
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“We’re doing such extraordinary work across the state distributing all this marvelous money, after a 25-year hiatus and inactivity, to see 176 projects going forth at 46 of our higher education institutions,” she said.
Also at the event was Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University, who spoke mostly regarding the current construction projects on the school’s College Avenue Campus.
“This whole project is about 345,000 square feet and about $325 million in project cost,” he said. Barchi then looked to the future, discussing several upcoming construction projects for the state school. These projects include a new home for its chemistry department, which is one of the highest rated in the nation.
They also include replacing the original building from the original Rutgers medical school.
“Those are all coming down,” Barchi said. “This project has already been designed and is out for bid right now, and we will break ground on this, I guess, next week.”
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Many colleges, along with Rutgers, appear to be investing in science. Curt Heuring, vice president for administration at The College of New Jersey, spoke about a new STEM – or science, technology, engineering and mathematics – facility, which he highlighted as “the most important project.” The project is funded by $40 million from the Building our Future Bond Act and $1 million from the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund.
Donald Moore, senior vice president for facilities planning & operations at Rowan University, spoke about a new Tech Park at the college’s West Campus location.
The university looks to “develop close to 270,000 square feet of facilities, research-based primarily,” Moore said. The research facility is an extension of the school’s new partnership with Lockheed Martin, which plans to relocate some of its research facilities to the new location.
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