front of CELS building

Center for Environmental and Life Sciences

The Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS) is a 107,500 sq. ft. science facility devoted to environmental and pharmaceutical life sciences research. The Center allows Montclair State’s College of Science and Mathematics to build on its collaborative culture combining strengths across disciplines and building research programs of exceptional power. In the process, Montclair State University demonstrates that it can make a large impact on the advancement of science and technology, especially in the sustainable use of natural resources and improved human health.

Housing the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies and multiple CSAM Centers and Institutes, with shared core research labs and interdisciplinary research suites, and student study/lounge areas and classrooms, CELS greatly expands the University’s science research infrastructure. CELS is designed to address the acute shortage in higher education research facilities that is driving high-potential science majors out of state for their education and future careers.

Why CELS is Important

Building for the Future

  • Building on Montclair State’s reputation as a growing research institution
  • Offering innovative workspaces for collaboration, state-of-the-art laboratories and seminar rooms
  • Creating research programs of exceptional power
  • Greatly expanding the University’s science research infrastructure
  • Addressing the acute shortage in higher education research facilities in New Jersey
  • Enhancing research programs attracting and keeping New Jersey’s top students in-state

A Rapidly Changing Landscape

  • Expand the capacity to generate discoveries, new processes and new technologies necessary to support long-term growth of New Jersey’s global health/life sciences industry;
  • Help maintain a critical mass of life sciences research in NJ; and
  • Promote interdisciplinary research, collaboration, flexibility and industry participation in a manner that leverages R&D, stimulate the pipeline to industry and grow new business incubators.

Critical to New Jersey’s Environment

  • With a legacy of early industrialization and non-sustainable use of natural resources, and despite decades of land/water clean-up and remediation, New Jersey has the third largest number of Super Fund sites in the U.S.  New Jersey is also the most densely populated state in the nation and both government and university studies have concluded that New Jersey will be the first state to run out of developable land (2050).
  • New Jersey’s coastal infrastructure and development are thought to be the most susceptible to the impacts of climate change.  According to the 2008 National Conference of State Legislatures Report on the Effect of Global Climate Change on the U.S., the anticipated sea level rise, flooding and major storms caused by climate change and other variables are predicted to claim more land in New Jersey than the national average due to local conditions that make the state’s shoreline particularly vulnerable to soil erosion and land subsidence.
  • CELS plays a pivotal role in conducting research that leads to innovative environmental solutions and prepares scientists and professionals to address New Jersey’s economic and ecological impacts from global climate change.

Critical to the Development of New Jersey’s Future Workforce

  • New Jersey now ranks 1st nationally in net loss of college-bound students (close to 30,000 annually). Why? Because New Jersey ranks 47th in the U.S. in public college/university enrollment capacity (undergraduate seats).
  • It is the best and brightest science students who go out of state for their university education because science majors know that research-active faculty stay highly engaged in the latest developments in their field, which is then translated into exceptional classroom experiences. Even Governor Christie’s Task Force on Higher Education concluded this year that “New Jersey must find new ways to retain the talent and skills of our top students to continue our tradition as the Invention State.”

How CELS is Preparing for the Future

CELS is a 107,500-square-foot LEED® Silver–certified building, whose design development is led by the S/L/A/M Collaborative, a national architectural firm with strong experience in designing science research centers. The building comprises a comprehensive array of laboratories, seminar rooms, classrooms and other facilities that enable collaborative, transdisciplinary research in the pharmaceutical life sciences and environmental sciences. It joins three existing science buildings, Mallory Hall, Science Hall and Richardson Hall, around a “learning and discovery landscape” to give science research a high-visibility position on the campus.

  • The ground floor is devoted to a state-of-the-art electron microscopy suite, a geographic information systems laboratory, existing and new CSAM centers and institutes, the facility’s primary lecture hall and its largest seminar room. The ground floor atrium and lobby house high-level video capabilities allowing visitors to share in the excitement of ongoing research—often in real time from our research laboratories.
  • The second floor has four major teaching laboratories adjacent to two seminar rooms and administrative offices. These laboratories comprise students from environmental studies, a growing and critical discipline for our rising generation.
  • The environmental research laboratories are concentrated on the building’s third floor and consist of four major research laboratories connected by open support areas designed to house shared equipment and major infrastructure, promoting strong collaboration. In addition and to support the transdisciplinary focus, a computational research laboratory is adjacent to the “wet” laboratories and focuses on informatics, genomics and modeling.
  • Life sciences and pharmaceutical science laboratories are concentrated on the fourth floor and mirror the third floor’s plan of four major research laboratories connected by open support areas designed to enhance shared studies. The fourth floor also houses a series of laboratories designed to be highly flexible and is the home of various environmental and pharmaceutical start-up companies (incubators).
  • One of the buildings most scenic features is the “green” roof above the second floor that is used as a study site and retreat. Green roofs are encouraged by LEED® as an approach to cool the building and better retain “gray” water.

Browse the White Paper for more information!