On Aug. 23, officials cut the ribbon on Passaic Public School’s Dayton Avenue Campus, which is one of the largest Schools Development Authority (SDA) projects in the Garden State.
The project, which cost nearly $241 million, will include a 448,000-square-foot campus that will house four schools and educate up to 3,000 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The campus will include Abraham Lincoln School, Mahatma Gandhi Elementary School, Ellen Ochoa Gifted and Talented Academy and Muhammed Ali Middle School.
Features at the schools include specialized rooms, courtyard play areas, self-contained special education classrooms, media centers, music rooms, dance studio, science labs and more.
“As a child of the downtown area of Passaic City, I can say a school complex in the downtown area is a long time coming,” said Passaic School Superintendent Sandra Montanez-Diodonet. “We are so excited to see a 21st century modernized educational campus in this area, and we are even more excited for the students who will benefit from all that it will have to offer not only physically, but certainly academically and programmatically.”
Gov. Phil Murphy was on hand for the ceremony, highlighting investments from the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget, which includes the allocation of $1.55 billion to support the SDA’s 2022 Strategic Plan to advance more than a dozen school construction districts in SDA districts through FY2026, as well as an additional $350 million for facilities projects in regular operating districts.
“The necessary investments to SDA and DOE will see that our schools possess the proper infrastructure for our students to thrive in their educational environments,” said Murphy. “These children are our state’s future leaders, and every child deserves a world-class education and school in which to learn and to grow.”
“The SDA is gratified to play a vital role in creating an environment that fosters the learning and development for our state’s future leaders – the students. We take this responsibility very seriously,” said Manuel Da Silva, CEO of New Jersey Schools Development Authority. “The robust funding allocated to the state’s school construction program has allowed us to move ahead with projects identified in our 2022 Strategic Plan update. This funding supports the delivery of schools in Passaic and communities throughout the state to address significant capacity and facility deficiencies.”
Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, who has represented Passaic City in the Legislature for more than 20 years, described the project as a strategic investment using state funds to upgrade and improve the state’s educational infrastructure.
“We are taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in communities throughout the state,” Sarlo said. “This is a construction project that will provide long-term benefits for students and educators with facilities that will support educational progress.”
“Today is a realization of a dream that so many have worked for,” said Passaic City Mayor Hector Luna. “I am proud to be mayor of this city and to be able to work with leaders who continue to invest in the future of our children.”