If you graduated from Montclair State College in 1960 and returned in 2010 for your 50th reunion, you might think you were in the wrong place. In 1960, the campus had no Sprague Library, no University or Dickson Halls, no Kasser Theater or parking decks, no Village at Little Falls, no Café Diem or Red Hawk Diner, and no Student Recreation Center.
All these buildings, which now define the bustling campus, were built after 1960, and many were built within the past 10-12 years during President Susan A. Cole’s tenure. During this same period, in fact since 1988, the state of New Jersey has not floated a bond issue for construction in higher education. This construction has been creatively and determinedly financed by the University, donor contributions, and students and their families.
Students at Montclair State in 2010 can take pride in the heritage of the institution’s original buildings—College Hall (1908), Russ Hall (1914), Morehead Hall (1929), and Chapin Hall (1928), which has been transformed by an extensive architectural addition and now houses the John J. Cali School of Music. Panzer Athletic Center, originally opened in 1958, was also completely renovated and reopened in 2010 to better accommodate the needs of the University’s 17 intercollegiate athletic teams.
Of course, students still enjoy the beauty and workmanship of the campus landmark, the Amphitheater (1936), a post-Depression era Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. Thanks to the donations of alumni, the Amphitheater was completely restored in 2004 and upgraded with lighting and a sound system.
Visitors to campus in 2010 and beyond will enter the campus through a restored and beautified College Avenue Promenade which will transform the main entrance into a major pedestrian thoroughfare that will link the north and south ends of campus.
Along Clove Road, they will see the new Frank Sinatra Hall residence nestled between the Village at Little Falls and the Clove Road Apartments. Set to open in September 2010, this new residence hall will provide housing for 300 students. The new “CarParc Diem” deck, a 1,500-car parking facility, will open in September, as well.
With Montclair State’s current housing availability at only 3,400 students, and with many New Jersey and out-of-state students seeking housing, the University has been unable to keep up with demand.
In July 2009, the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act was signed into law by then Governor Jon Corzine. The legislation allowed colleges and universities to enter into public-private partnerships, thus allowing private developers to construct campus facilities. The first new project to be built under the auspices of this Act will be a residence and dining complex, which will provide housing and services to 2,000 students at the north end of the campus. The goal is to have the housing available by the fall of 2011.
Also on the drawing boards is a new building for the School of Business, and for Environmental and Life Sciences, and Media Arts and Communication.
Although not as visible as a new building, Montclair State’s computer systems infrastructure is also undergoing a massive overhaul. Called the Bell Tower Initiative, it is replacing obsolete 20-year-old administrative applications with user-friendly Web-based systems for student information and advising, financial reporting, and human resources.
Since 1908 when the University opened its doors as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair, the transformation in the campus setting has been dramatic, but no more dramatic than the academic expansion that has created the need for the structure in which to house the nearly 250 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations that the University now offers.
No matter what year you graduated from Montclair State, or even if you are not a graduate, please visit us and experience the stimulating, robust, lively, and beautiful environment that is the present-day University. For tours and information about the Office of Alumni Relations, visit montclair.edu/alumni.