Montclair State University Breaks Ground on New Center for Environmental and Life Sciences and School of Business Buildings

Construction projects will boost state and local economies by creating 1,500 construction and support jobs

Release Date: September 25th, 2013

Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over a Building Our Future Groundbreaking Ceremony on Wednesday, September 25 for a Center for Environmental and Life Sciences and a new School of Business building.

These two major construction projects – which constitute a combined investment of $121 million in new academic facilities – are being partially funded by the State of New Jersey, and will boost both the state and local economies by creating 1,500 construction and support jobs. In April, the University was awarded nearly $94 million in State bond funding from the $750-million “Building Our Future” Bond Act that was approved by New Jersey voters in November 2012. Montclair State received more money than any other senior public or private institution with only public research universities receiving larger amounts. The Bond Act represents the State’s first major capital investment in higher education facilities in more than 25 years.

“This substantial and catalytic investment by the State of New Jersey will greatly benefit both our students and our economy by building upon critical areas of expertise and excellence that reside in our strong, high-demand programs in business and the sciences,” said Cole.

With today’s groundbreaking, Montclair State becomes one of the first schools to start construction on its State-funded projects, both of which are scheduled for completion by spring 2015.

“These are urgently needed facilities,” says Cole. “With this program, the State has taken a giant step forward to ensure that we continue to meet the demands of New Jersey’s educational future.”

The $55-million, 107,500-square-foot Center for Environmental and Life Sciences will expand the University’s science research infrastructure by 50 percent. State-of-the-art classrooms and research labs will support programs and research in sustainability science, pharmaceutical biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, as well as in environmental management, environmental science, geoscience and geography. Designed to foster collaborative research and industry partnerships, the Center will also house the University’s Sokol Institute for the Pharmaceutical Life Sciences; the Institute for Sustainability Studies; and the Passaic River Institute.

“There is clear recognition nationally that for our country to move forward as a leading global innovator, we need to produce more scientists. To do this, we need modern facilities that will not just attract students into the sciences but also retain and better train them for productive future careers in industry and academia,” said College of Science and Mathematics Dean Robert Prezant. “To that end, our new Center for Environmental and Life Sciences will be home to thousands of future students who will emerge as tomorrow’s scientists, problem-solvers, and science-based entrepreneurs, researchers and industry leaders.” 

The 143,000-square-foot School of Business building will provide students with a $66-million high-tech learning environment featuring a 150-seat lecture hall, classrooms and computer labs, as well as market research/analysis labs and a financial trading floor. A hub for both the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility, the new building also will facilitate and grow dynamic partnerships with the New Jersey business community. 

“Today's groundbreaking ceremony is a visible affirmation of the School of Business’ steep upward trajectory of effectively preparing students for the rigors of the 21st-century marketplace,” said School of Business Dean E. LaBrent Chrite.

In announcing the list of State-funded projects in April, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie noted that capital improvements such as these would keep state colleges and universities competitive, attract and retain top students, and “make our colleges more attractive research partners for industries looking to bring good-paying jobs and businesses here.” 

By enhancing educational opportunities in New Jersey, the projects also will help stem the “brain drain” of the roughly 28,000 students who go out of state each year to pursue their educations.

The groundbreaking ceremony celebrates Montclair State’s ability to deliver an exceptional educational experience in business and the sciences.

“This is a great day for Montclair State and New Jersey,” said Cole. “Today we broke ground on two mission-critical and very welcome additions to our campus – and on a new era for our University and for higher education in New Jersey.”

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Suzanne Bronski
Director of Media Relations
(973) 655-4334
(917) 292-9554 (cell)
bronskis@mail.montclair.edu

Meaghan Morin
Communications Assistant
(973) 655-4333
morinm@mail.montclair.edu