Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno will cut the ribbon today at a dedication event at Montclair State University for The Heights, a new student residence and dining complex that will accommodate nearly 2,000 additional resident students on its campus. In addition to Guadagno, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senator Raymond Lesniak, and Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, along with students and other distinguished guests, are expected to be present.
Over the past 10 years, Montclair State University has provided a vastly enhanced experience to its students with the addition of dynamic academic programs, a focus on teaching excellence, and the construction of a number of state-of-the-art facilities. Now, with The Heights, a new student housing complex that opened this month, the University can accommodate nearly 2,000 additional resident students on campus.
Completed within 14 months, The Heights is the first public-private partnership construction project to be developed under the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act. The state-of-the-art residential complex has approximately 568,000 square feet of living quarters and a 24,000-square-foot dining area. There were 1,350 construction workers employed during its construction.
“The Heights gives us the opportunity to accommodate more residential students and guarantee on-campus housing to all interested students,” said Montclair State President Susan A. Cole. “We are now better positioned to serve students from throughout the state of New Jersey and beyond.”
The new complex was developed by Capstone Development Corporation of Birmingham, Alabama, a nationally regarded developer of student housing facilities, with Terminal Construction Corporation of Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, performing as general contractor for construction of the buildings.
The $211 million project was financed by tax-exempt bonds issued by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Provident Group-Montclair Properties LLC is the owner of the structures, tenant under a ground lease with the University, and borrower of the financing. The LLC is wholly owned by Provident Resources Group, Inc., a not-for-profit entity organized in Georgia and based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When the bonds are fully paid, title to the entire facility will revert to the University. Until title is transferred, PRG is responsible for managing and maintaining the property in top condition.
“The State of New Jersey has not invested any direct capital funding in higher educational facilities in more than 25 years,” said Cole. “Therefore, in order to grow and develop as a competitive university, we have had to find creative and cost-effective solutions to build new facilities and make capital improvements to existing structures.”
The Heights’ two primary building complexes are named Dinallo Heights and Machuga Heights, in honor of two local New Jersey residents, Anthony M. Dinallo and John Victor Machuga, whose respective lives are being commemorated by their families and friends for their commitments and contributions to the community.
In addition, the eight residence halls of The Heights are being named in honor of the following distinguished former residents of New Jersey: John Basilone, Albert Einstein, Walt Whitman, Nellie Katherine Morrow Parker, Althea Gibson, William Gordon, Clara Barton, and Sam Mills.
The dining facility will be known as “Sam’s Place” in memory of Mills, Montclair State’s two-time All-American linebacker and College Football Hall of Famer who went on to have a long and distinguished NFL career as both a player and a coach.
Providing additional housing for students has long been a priority for President Cole and the University’s Board of Trustees. Since joining the University in 1998, Cole has overseen the addition of 10 new facilities on campus, including residence halls, sports and arts facilities, parking decks, and the 270,000-square-foot University Hall academic building and conference center, which opened its doors in 2006.
Montclair State University
Montclair State offers the advantages of a large university -- a comprehensive undergraduate curriculum with a global focus, a broad variety of superior graduate programs through the doctoral level, and a diverse faculty and student body -- combined with a small college's attention to students.