The College of New Jersey is about to give a big boost to its science and tech facilities.
New buildings for the Ewing school's science programs — anchored by an 89,000-square-foot STEM center — will increase TCNJ's science-related space by nearly 60 percent when construction is complete in August 2017.
Altogether, the project will cost more than $75 million, the school said, with $40 million coming from the "Building Our Future Bond" approved by voters in 2012 for capital projects at colleges in the state. The state's Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund will provide $1.075 million in funding.
The construction takes place at the northern end of campus, creating a "STEM Complex" near the main entrance off Route 31 that includes the existing Biology Building, Science Complex, and Armstrong Hall.
Those buildings house the departments of biology, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mathematics and statistics, physics, and technological studies.
The new STEM building will replace the demolished Holman Hall. It will house TCNJ's biomedical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering departments. Its lab space will include a robotics laboratory, mechanical engineering design studio, biomedical engineering research suite, and high-performance computing cluster that connects about 300 servers.
A 26,300-square-foot chemistry addition to the existing science complex will contain two organic chemistry labs, storage rooms, study spaces, and a "multidisciplinary super laboratory suite" that can be used for computation or experimentation.
Part of Forcina Hall will be renovated and converted into a nursing simulation lab, and a glass-enclosed, atrium-like space called the Forum will connected the new STEM building and the biology building.
In a news release, TCNJ describes the Forum as a campuswide "living room" — a casual, two-story student space that includes a cafe.
The school is to hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. Tuesday, with TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein and trustees joined by the state Senate president, Steve Sweeney (D., Gloucester). Also scheduled to attend are Bert Steinmann, the mayor of Ewing Township, and Gregg Edwards, deputy secretary of higher education.