New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will receive $20 million in capital funding from the State of New Jersey to renovate classrooms and laboratory spaces. Chief among the building projects will be the creation of Makerspace at NJIT, a 9,500-square-foot facility that will heed the call for innovation, invention and production in today's burgeoning STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) economy.
The $20 million award stems from bond referendums in which voters approved funding for capital projects at colleges and universities in the state. It follows a highly competitive application process and is one of the largest awards given by the state during the referendum's second round of funding in the fall of 2015. NJIT received funds from both the "Building Our Future Bond Act" as well as the "Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund."
"Campus transformation serves to enhance the student experience and solidify NJIT's position going forward as one of the nation's leading research and public polytechnic universities," said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. "The state bond award augments the ongoing transformation of our campus as a catalyst for the development of the highly needed STEM workforce and the science and technology-driven economic development for Newark, the state and nation."
Key to this development will be NJIT's Makerspace, one of the largest educational space of its kind, featuring 24-hour access to state-of-the-art equipment and the university's vast resources for design, prototyping, testing and research initiatives. NJIT students and faculty, along with regional companies and manufacturers, will have opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration in areas that include 3D printing, general fabrication, computer-network-control and general machining, industrial meteorology, wood and metalwork, advanced manufacturing and electronics assembly. Makerspace at NJIT will not only foster a community of innovation and partnership, it also will help prepare the STEM workforce of tomorrow and bolster New Jersey industry.
The first round of the $750 million "Building Our Future Bond Act" was distributed in 2013, with schools competing for and receiving funding for more than 250 projects, ranging from the construction of entire buildings to network upgrades and library renovations. NJIT received nearly $100 million, which the university has used toward renovating the 200,000 sq. foot Central King Building, a former public high school constructed in 1911, and constructing a new Life Sciences and Engineering Building, a 24,500-square-foot research facility designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in fields ranging from biomedical engineering and the biological sciences to electrical and computer engineering and healthcare technologies.
"Many thanks to our governor, legislature and New Jersey voters for supporting the critical link between higher education and workforce and economic development," Dr. Bloom added.
One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of 11,300 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the state of New Jersey.