Administrators, students and New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney piled into the construction site of the Discovery Hall, where they signed a structural support beam on Feb. 3. The ceremony celebrated yet another advancement to the ever-changing Rowan University.
According to Rowan, “Discovery Hall will feature 12 classrooms, eight teaching laboratories, faculty research laboratories, two conference rooms, student collaboration space and faculty offices. With a four-story design for the west section of the building and two stories for the east, the building preserves open space for engaging landscaping, pedestrian and vehicular access and parking.”
Both students and faculty in the School of Earth & Environment and College of Science and Mathematics can get excited to work with brand new labs by 2021. Divisional Vice President of Facilities, Planning, and Operations Joe Campbell praised the Discovery Hall project for its integrated process.
“As we continue to see the product that we have in the end, just know we were all part of the process,” Campbell said.
At the cost of $46.7 million, Discovery Hall is still only a fraction of the $1.5 billion that Rowan has spent in the past five years on construction. With its central location, it will be a staple of the Rowan campus for generations of students to come.
“We remain true to our core missions of expanding access, creating affordability, generating excellence in education,” President Ali Houshmand said.
Such an exponential growth for a state school like Rowan is unprecedented, especially considering that tuition hasn’t been raised considerably from it.
“If we don’t get the money from the state, we have to borrow on behalf of the student,” Houshmand said.
Houshmand continued to add that the State-provided budget is absolutely necessary to subsidize education.
“When we were doing higher education reconstruction in 2013, we gave Rowan University resource designation, which they didn’t have, and we gave them another medical school,” Sweeney said. Sweeney is referencing the Building Our Future Bond act, a $750 million referendum to aid growth in public schools of New Jersey.
“Rowan is being talked about around the state, and really the country,” Sweeney said.
He excitedly pointed out that Rowan University, along with Michigan University, are the only institutions in the United States which offer both an MD (Doctor of Medicine) and a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
“When Dr. Houshmand started, he had a vision and saw what [Rowan] could be, not what it was,” said Sweeney. As a Camden native, Sweeney can remember a completely different school.
“As we have grown, we have not been able to keep up with the resources and infrastructure that STEM education requires. This is absolutely essential for our students to have a centralized location with the most advanced equipment,” Houshmand said.
When construction of the Discovery Hall began last year, many students voiced concerns about the elimination of parking. According to Campbell, this project will result in a “net-gain” in parking. This is because the business behind Discovery Hall is moving, creating more space for students and faculty to park.
It’s an exciting time to be a Rowan student as we get to be a part of this tremendous change that could bring the university to a new level of academic prominence.
“10 years ago, we decided to adopt a new bird for Rowan University called building cranes. We will continue to keep that bird going for years to come,” Houshmand said to the crowd.
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