TRENTON, N.J. — Colleges and universities in New Jersey will receive $1.3 billion to fund 176 construction and renovation projects that will impact approximately 350,000 students.
The funds come from the $750 million “Building our Future” bond referendum approved by state voters in November as well as funding from the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund, the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund, the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund and the Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund.
“Today we begin a new era of opportunity for New Jersey’s colleges and universities,” N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. “To keep more of our best students in the state to make our colleges more attractive research partners for industries looking to bring good paying jobs and business here, we need modern facilities to remain competitive.”
The Educational Facilities Authority, the Economic Development Authority, the Schools Development Authority and the Department of Treasury reviewed 250 projects submitted by various New Jersey higher learning institutions and passed on their recommendations to Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. The list reflects the priorities of the state regarding high education with special attention paid to science, technology engineering and math.
“Our team looked for innovative projects that were in line with the mission of the colleges and New Jersey’s needs. I’m proud that higher education institutions in every region of our state will benefit,” Hendricks said.
According to Hendricks, 46 institutions submitted applications for construction funding, totaling $2.1 billion. Many of the projects selected were shovel-ready and added capacity to the school. Although not all of the projects were funded, many colleges and universities received generous portions.
The campuses of Rutgers University will receive the largest chunk of funding, nearly $357 million, which will fund projects such as an $82 million chemistry and chemical biology building.
Montclair State University will receive $93.8 million to expand academic and research facilities as well as upgrade technology infrastructure. Projects will include the $55 million Center for Environmental and Life Sciences, a 107,500-square-foot scientific research building and the $66 million replacement of the School of Business.
“The new Center for Environmental and Life Sciences will have a direct impact on keeping high-potential science students from leaving New Jersey to pursue their education in fields critical to the state’s economy,” said Robert Prezant, dean of the college of science and mathematics. “The project will support academic programs and cross-disciplinary research in the environmental and life sciences with a focus on sustainability science, pharmaceutical biochemistry and medicinal chemistry.”
With approval to undergo an $86.3 million renovation to the Central King Building, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) hopes to become a more competitive college in subjects of science and technology.
"These projects are of critical importance to NJIT and New Jersey," said Matt Golden, spokesman for NJIT, in a statement. "They will enable us to expand our capability and influence as a nationally-recognized science and technology university. These projects also will increase our role as a driver of economic growth in New Jersey and throughout the region.”
Rowan University will receive $117 million for a new building for the College of Engineering and a new facility for the university’s College of Business. The new buildings will allow the school to double enrollment in each program.
“In no uncertain terms, this is the critical funding Rowan requires to transform into a major comprehensive public research university,” said Ali Houshmand, president, Rowan University. “This is a tremendous investment by the state in our institution, in Glassboro, and in all of south Jersey.”