- By Catherine Baxter, News Editor
This November, people will not only be voting for the President on the ballot. There will be a bond up for voting that would give $750 million in funding to New Jersey colleges and universities. The bond will help support costs such as building and renovation projects.
New Jersey has not issued bonds for higher education facilities since 1988. New Jersey is one of the few states in the nation that has not constantly been investing in their college campuses.
According to President Susan Cole, as a result of this, enormous pressure has been put on college and university operating budgets and on student tuition to provide adequate facilities.
This bond initiative must be voted on – either yes or no – by the public in the upcoming November election.
“This bond represents a very important turning point for the state,” said President Cole. “A strong ‘yes’ vote for the bond will have a huge positive impact on the future of higher education in New Jersey. In turn, strong higher education institutions make a very significant contribution to the social and economic well-being of the state and its people.”
The bond initiative will provide $750 million in funds to construct or renovate facilities on the campuses of New Jersey colleges and universities.
More specifically, the bond would provide $300 million for research universities. $247.5 million would go to state colleges and universities, including Montclair State University. $150 million would go to community colleges and $52.5 million would go to private colleges and universities.
The goal of this bond is to improve instructional and research, student service and campus infrastructure. However, these funds would not be used for any revenue-generating facilities such as residence halls, dining facilities or athletic facilities.
According to President Cole, the highest priorities for any funds that Montclair State University would receive from the bond are split into three main categories.
The first priority is for an instructional and research facility supporting the University’s programs in the Environmental and Life Sciences, which is planned to be constructed in the parking lot between Life Hall and Stone Hall.
The facility would include: trans-disciplinary research laboratories in fields such as parasitic diseases, oncology, virology, site decontamination and biodiversity; classrooms and laboratories for instruction; spaces for university/industry collaborations and spaces for symposia and faculty offices.
“There are new labs in Science Hall, but Richardson Hall still lacks in quality,” said Madison Mazur, biology major. “That’s where most of my classes are. Richardson Hall is outdated and Science Hall isn’t, and it doesn’t give students equal opportunity who happen to have classes in Richardson.”
The facility would also house the Sokol Institute for the Pharmaceutical Life Sciences, the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies and the Passaic River Institute.
“This facility is urgently needed as the University has a very severe shortage of science laboratories,” said President Cole.
The second priority is for a facility to replace the current undersized facility serving the 2,000 students enrolled in the School of Business.
According to President Cole, the facility would provide the specialized spaces for instruction, student support, team projects, business and industry collaborations and learning technologies associated with contemporary undergraduate and graduate business education in fields including Accounting, Law and Taxation, Marketing, Economics, Finance, Management and Information Systems.
The facility will also house the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and the Northwestern Mutual Trading Center, as well as faculty offices and student study space.
The third and final priority is in facilities for the University’s high-demand programs in Communications, Media, Broadcasting and Film, all of which currently have a severe shortage of space for the specialized instructional activities required by these high-technology, high-equipment disciplines, as well as severe shortages of space for faculty and student project work.
The project would include the construction of a new facility for specialized television, radio and multi-media studios, as well as renovation of existing space for classrooms, faculty offices, technical and academic support services and student project and study space.
Many students are hoping that the bond is passed.
“Since I’m a film student, I think the bond’s a great idea,” said Ryan Moore, film major and Student Assistant. “Though our state is just getting out of debt and it’s a lot of money, I hope we can handle it. I’m definitely a supporter of getting better facilities.”
Students are encouraged to register to vote, so they too can have a say in the approval or denial of this bond that would give MSU an immense amount of funding.