Republican Governor Chris Christie says voter-approved bonds are helping Stockton College and other higher education institutions invest in the future.
Christie traveled to Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township Thursday to join school administrators at a groundbreaking ceremony for a planned $28.6 million expansion of the college’s Unified Science Center.
The 54,000-square-foot expansion will add new classrooms, labs, faculty offices and a greenhouse to the center, which opened last year.
The groundbreaking is the latest attended by Christie to tout the impact of a $750 million higher education bond passed by referendum in 2012. The money will be used to help finance 176 construction projects at 46 schools across the state.
Christie says this is the first time New Jersey has worked to increase capacity in its state universities in 25 years. He called Stockton’s new building “an investment in our young men and women” and in the state’s economy.
Stockton College President Herman Saatkamp said that when he arrived in 2003, science faculty told him that “one of the college’s most pressing needs was a state-of-the-art science building.”
“Our labs at that time were outdated and lacked the technology one would expect,” he said.
Saatkamp says he had promised to build a new science facility as part of the college’s master plan and noted: “Look how far we’ve come in just one academic year. Last fall, we celebrated the opening of phase 1 of the Unified Science Center, and today, thanks largely to Gov. Christie, Secretary (Rochelle) Hendricks, the Legislature and the overwhelming support of the citizens of New Jersey, we are able to break ground on Unified Science Center.”
Associated Press contributed to this report