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Stockton, state officials break ground on $29 million science center expansion

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Construction is underway on a $29 million project that will nearly double the size of a key science and math facility at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Known as the school’s Unified Science Center, the 66,000-square-foot facility will be expanded by 54,000 square feet, according to a Stockton news release. The combined space will includes 60 laboratories, 15 classrooms and dozens of faculty offices on its Galloway campus.

College and state officials gathered Thursday to mark the start of construction for the $28.62 million expansion, 75 of percent of which is being funded through a bond approved by state voters in 2012. The $750 million bond allocates funds for capital projects at colleges and universities in New Jersey.

Stockton is paying for the remaining $7.155 million, the news release said.

Stockton President Herman Saatkamp said that when he arrived at Stockton in 2003, he was told that “one of the college’s most pressing needs was a state-of-the-art science building.”

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“Our labs at that time were outdated and lacked the technology one would expect, especially given that Stockton produces a high number of math and science undergraduate degree recipients,” Saatkamp said. Stockton produces nearly 24 percent of such students that come out of New Jersey’s eight public colleges and universities

The new facility fills that need, Saatkamp said in a prepared statement.

“Most importantly, it will better prepare our students for exciting careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and help meet the growing demand of industries in the region and throughout the state seeking highly educated and skilled graduates,” he said.

The new facility is expected to open in spring 2017.
 
Gov. Chris Christie, who has been touting the wave of construction at New Jersey’s higher education institutions, was among those in attendance for the ceremony. The 2012 bond was the first approved for college and university projects since 1988, and Christie said it’s funding 176 construction projects at Garden State institutions.

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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