Major college projects still waiting on money voters OK’d years ago
More than four years since New Jersey voters approved a $750 million bond issue for upgrades at New Jersey colleges and universities, the ball is rolling on the final $34.2 million that would assist with projects at more than a dozen higher education institutions.
The full Senate and Assembly in late January approved the appropriation of the remaining "Building Our Future Bond Act" dollars, most of which would go to two-year schools in the Garden State.
Gov. Chris Christie has not yet acted on the legislation at his desk and as of late Wednesday, his office had not offered comment on the matter.
Approved by more than 60 percent of New Jersey voters in November 2012, the first round of funding — which included the overwhelming majority of approved spending — was awarded to a number of schools in 2013.
Among the schools and projects to benefit from the pending second round of funding:
- Rowan College at Burlington County: $5,100,000 for interior renovation and instructional expansion at the health and sciences building
- Rowan College at Gloucester County: $4,500,000 for a new college center
- Passaic County Community College: $1,200,000 for transition of a recently-purchased warehouse into an advanced technology center
- Camden County College: $5,800,000 to advance the development of the Health Careers Education Facility
- Sussex County Community College: $3,120,203 for construction of a new academic building
- William Paterson University: $2,785,638 for reconstruction of the Hunziker Buildings to provide state-of-the-art classrooms in the academic core of the campus
- Monmouth University: $1,815,500 for renovation and addition to the Edison Science Building
Brookdale Community College in Lincroft would be in line for $1.2 million to finish the renovation of all science labs on campus.
"Up-to-date science labs, especially right now with the high demand for students going into STEM fields, are really essential," BCC President Dr. Maureen Murphy told New Jersey 101.5. "We already designated some funds to begin that process and this is allowing us to update all of our labs pretty much in one fell swoop."
Noting the governor "campaigned hard" on the Building Our Future Bond Act years ago, Murphy said she can't imagine any reason the final installment of money would not get his ink.
Brookdale was awarded $12 million in the first round of funding, which went toward development of a 40,000-square-foot building in Wall Twp. that's set to debut this spring.
According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, the bond act represents just a fraction of capital state funding for school improvements.
"Several of our schools received considerable capital funding from the 2016 renewal of the Capital Improvement Fund, which requires no legislation, only executive action," the association said.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.