Breaking New Ground

Montclair State breaks ground on two new buildings

Photo: Mike Peters

Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole addresses the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony for two new academic buildings.

Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole presided over a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, September 25, for the University’s two newest buildings, a Center for Environmental and Life Sciences and a new School of Business building.

With state legislators, construction officials, local dignitaries and hundreds of members of the University community in attendance, the ceremony marked the official start of construction on the two buildings, although work has actually been ongoing since August.

“The importance of these projects simply cannot be overstated,” said Cole. “These new facilities will provide extraordinary opportunities for bright, creative, and ambitious New Jersey students to get the quality of education that they need, and that we need them to have, so that they can contribute their skills and talents to the future vitality of the state and the nation.”

The two 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.

“These buildings have been made possible by a long and arduous journey to get a higher education bond initiative approved in the State of New Jersey,” noted Cole. “The last such investment was made a quarter of a century ago, so you can imagine how important this investment is.”

The president thanked the legislators present for their efforts on behalf of the University. “ There are several legislators here…Senators Nia Gill, Kevin O’Toole, and Paul Sarlo, and Assemblymen Ralph Caputo and Thomas Giblin, who had major roles in advocating both for the bond and for the students of Montclair State University.” Cole said. “These are individuals who not only supported the bond initiative, but who exercised their influence to make sure that our students would derive significant benefit from the bond, and we as a campus community are extremely grateful for their support.”

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.

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.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from the legislators and Student Government Association President George Juzdan, followed by College of Science and Mathematics Dean Robert Prezant and School of Business Dean E. LaBrent Chrite circling their troops in front of a pair of front end loaders representing the two new buildings. The vehicles raised their earth-filled buckets to mark the start of construction and set off a rousing ovation from everyone there.

 Learn more about the new buildings at Investing in the Future.

View photos from the event at

Read media coverage of the ceremony in The Record, Clifton Journal and Montclair Patch.