State-of-the art science buildings and laboratories at Rutgers, Montclair State and William Paterson universities and Bergen Community College are among $1.3 billion in publicly funded higher education projects announced Monday that are expected to provide an economic boost and thousands of jobs in the state over the next few years.
The awards come from five state funding sources, including a $750 million capital construction bond that voters approved last fall. In all, there are 176 projects at 46 colleges and universities, both public and private, that are expected to generate thousands of construction jobs.
The bond issue was the first that New Jersey voters had approved for higher education since 1988. In the intervening years, public funding for the state’s public colleges and universities has been cut as enrollment boomed, forcing tuition-paying students to bear much of the cost of new campus construction.
Governor Christie said Monday that many of the projects were “shovel ready” and long overdue, adding that they will help to jumpstart the state’s economy.
“Today, we begin a new era of opportunity for New Jersey’s colleges and universities,” Christie said in a statement that his office issued late in the day. “To keep more of our best students in the state and to make our colleges more attractive research partners for industries looking to bring good paying jobs and businesses here, we need modern facilities to remain competitive.”