Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

The Star Ledger — Rutgers University officials said they wanted State Senate President Steve Sweeney to leave campus Thursday afternoon with a sense that the university is “on the move.”

After touring the first building the university constructed with the help of the state’s $750 million higher education bond issue, Sweeney had that feeling and more, he said.

“Words can’t describe how impressed I am,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said.

Sweeney and Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) toured Rutgers-New Brunswick to get a first-hand look at how the university is taking advantage of the Building Our Future Bond Act, $750 million in state borrowing to build and renovate campus facilities at New Jersey’s public and private colleges.

The bond, approved by voters in a 2012 referendum, was aimed at replacing out-of-date facilities across the state’s colleges.

On the Cook Campus at Rutgers-New Brunswick, the senators toured the New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition and Health. The $55 million facility scheduled to open this month features a new student health center, a children’s nutrition center and a human performance center.

Construction of the new building was financed with the help of a $35 million grant from the bond, and it will be the first Rutgers facility to open that was built with money from the bond.

After getting a first look at the new institute, the senators took a bus tour of the sprawling New Brunswick campus, finishing at the new Rutgers-New Brunswick Honors College and the future site of the University Academic Building.

The Academic Building, which is currently under construction but will be adjacent to the honors college, will hold 2,500 students in classes that range from 300-seat lectures to 20-person seminar rooms.
The $116.8 million price tag will be covered in part by $43 million from the state’s bond.

Though Sweeney was impressed, he said the state’s investment should not be measured only in buildings. He hopes the updated facilities go a long way toward ending New Jersey’s annual exodus of high school graduates to colleges in other states.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is export them,” Sweeney said of students. “They are our future.

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626