The Building Our Future Bond Act moves to keep the best students, innovators and entrepreneurs right here in New Jersey.
That's because New Jersey is one of only five states—including Alabama and Montana—that spent no money in the last five years on capital improvements for higher education. Our last major investment in this area took place 24 years ago. Meanwhile, competing states such as New York and Connecticut are investing hundreds of millions of dollars annually in their higher education facilities.
The Building Our Future Bond Act was signed by Governor Christie this summer after being passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the Legislature. If approved by New Jersey voters in November, the referendum would authorize $750 million in State bonds to provide greatly needed capital improvement grants to New Jersey’s public and private two- and four-year higher education institutions. The use of these funds would be restricted to the construction and modernization of academic and research facilities only, and not bureaucratic buildings or sports facilities.
The Building Our Future Bond Act also requires that every college and university receiving a capital project grant must provide its own funds to cover at least 25 percent of the cost of each project undertaken on its campus.
At Montclair State, the Bond would provide grants to help finance the new Center for Environmental and Life Sciences—a planned 100,000-square-foot, $55 million, state-of-the-art research center. The proposed Center will usher in the next generation of scientific research at the University. The Bond would also provide financial support for a proposed building equipped with advanced communication technologies and a multi-platform newsroom for the recently launched School of Communication and Media. This cutting-edge facility will be integral to the School’s world-class training of students who will be expertly prepared to lead the way in a rapidly changing media environment.
In all, 49 higher education institutions stand to benefit from this critical funding source. The last capital bond referendum for higher education in New Jersey passed with overwhelming public support in 1988. In the nearly quarter century since voters last considered such a referendum, the need for new or modernized facilities for our students has grown greatly but, until now, it has been unmet by pivotal State funding support.
The Building Our Future coalition is comprised of a broad-based support network that includes bipartisan leaders in Trenton, business and commerce groups from across the state, dozens of colleges and universities, trade unions and student organizations.
For more information, go to buildingourfuturenj.com.