Local colleges and universities are crossing their fingers after submitting lengthy applications to the state to capture a share of hundreds of millions of dollars in higher education construction bonds.
The state is accepting applications through March 25, but most of the local higher learning institutions have already sent in state funding requests for projects that range from a new $64 million engineering building at The College of New Jersey to upgraded WiFi networks and science labs at Mercer County Community College’s two campuses.
“I can’t say it enough,” said MCCC President Patricia Donohue. “These are things we have already identified that we need to do at Mercer County Community to serve our students, to serve our employers, to serve our county. Every penny we’ve asked for is important.”
Last November, voters passed the $750 million Building Our Future Bond Act, which lets the state borrow millions for construction and renovations of academic buildings at colleges and universities.
Institutions whose projects are deemed eligible — the state wants to see shovel-ready projects with an emphasis on buildings advancing the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) — will receive 75 percent of the cost of their project from the state and will have to match the remaining 25 percent.