Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, the board of Hudson County Schools of Technology, and Liberty Science Center have signed a formal MOU to begin construction of SciTech Scity’s public high school with the final hurdle before construction commencing approval by the County Commissioner Board and City Council during the week of March 22 on their respective legislative agendas.
The public-private partnership is a shared agreement on the design, financing, construction, and programming for a new world-class, science-focused Liberty Science Center High School, located within SciTech Scity. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) is designated to manage the project and coordinate with the Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST), the operating authority for the public county magnet high school, with shared financial cost between county government, city government, Liberty Science Center, and philanthropic donors.
“Partnering with the County, we’re creating an unparalleled opportunity for hundreds of students each year by disrupting the status quo and acting as a catalyst to promote future scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs in a one-of-a-kind setting that will become a sought-after destination for inspiration and innovation,” said Mayor Fulop. “Liberty Science Center High School will be a key asset interwoven into all SciTech Scity will offer with internships, innovators, entrepreneurs, and scientists coming together to create a hub for learning and creation.”
“Hudson County is home to some of our state’s most talented students, and we are committed to providing them with the innovative and creative educational resources they need to achieve success,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “The school at SciTech Scity will undoubtedly expose our students to opportunities they would not otherwise have and I’m excited to soon see students walking the halls of this state-of-the-art facility.”
The planned 30-acre innovation campus, a “mini city of the future”, will be a technological hub for students, innovators, entrepreneurs, and scientists working together to create a community for learning and innovation. The City of Jersey City donated 12.5 acres to SciTech Scity and will provide $2 million annually in financial assistance for school operating costs. Under the MOU, Liberty Science Center will contribute nearly $3.5 million for the construction of the project.
“From the earliest days of dreaming up SciTech Scity, a state-of-the-art science high school has always been an anchor component,” says Paul Hoffman, president and CEO of Liberty Science Center and SciTech Scity. “Thanks to this agreement, it will now become a reality and benefit students across the county.”
The state-of-the-art school will be built next to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to offer skill-centric science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes for 400 science-talented high school students in grades 9-12 that will also leverage a work education program around the 200+ technology startup companies and entrepreneurs that will call SciTech Scity home.
To date, LSC has raised $30 million in philanthropic donations for the innovation campus, including $5 million specifically for the public high school via a generous matching donation from Laura and John Overdeck.
“Ever since Thomas Edison’s light bulb, New Jersey has been famous for scientific innovation and the brilliant people who make it happen,” said Laura Overdeck. “Thanks to the foresight of LSC and the leadership of Jersey City and Hudson County, this new high school will provide our students a whole new trajectory for learning that prepares them for cutting-edge STEM careers.”
LSC plans to break ground on SciTech Scity in 2021 and open the first phase, including the Edge Works incubator, in 2023. Edge Works will provide nearly 100,000 square feet of research labs, private studios, open workspaces, and a conference center. Also onsite will be Scholars Village, a residential component for innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and their families.
As per the resolution, HCST will consult with the Liberty Science Center on program development, curriculum, and hiring of staff.
“The Hudson County Schools of Technology is proud to partner with Jersey City and the Liberty Science Center to foster creative and unique learning experiences for our students,” said Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez. “The vision for this school mirrors our district’s mission to provide students with opportunities to succeed beyond the classroom and we look forward to continue working collaboratively with our partners throughout the remainder of this process.”
The founding sponsors of SciTech Scity include Frank J. Guarini, David Barry, EY, Verizon, Bank of America, Joe and Millie Williams, and the City of Jersey City. The major supporters of Liberty Science Center High School include John and Laura Overdeck, the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Millie and Joe Williams, PSE&G, and Susan Keating and Norm Worthington.
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