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Newark’s Crown Jewel: NJIT Hosts Ribbon Cutting of Renovated Central King Building

Once home to thousands of Newark Central High School students, the Central King Building at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) exemplifies intelligent, creative and economically impactful urban redevelopment that serves NJIT students, industry and the local community. On April 13, 2017, more than 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university witnessed the official ribbon cutting of the renovated Central King Building, part of a campus transformation designed to enhance the student experience and solidify NJIT’s position going forward as one of the nation’s leading public polytechnic universities.

“NJIT was founded in 1881 by industrialists for the purpose of educating a skilled workforce for Newark’s businesses, and we never have lost sight of our symbiotic relationship with this great city,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “Newark has given much to NJIT, and NJIT has given much in return. So, it is especially gratifying to know the historic structure behind me, which was home to thousands and thousands of Newark Central High School students over the years, will serve as an important resource to NJIT, the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey and our entire region for many years to come.”

Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from NJIT in 2010, said that as the largest single project funded by the State of New Jersey through the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act, the Central King Building will provide the next generation of youth with a state-of-the-art learning hub where “ordinary students can do extraordinary things” and where student pioneers will spark “innovations that can help health and well-being.”

Rochelle R. Hendricks, secretary of higher education, New Jersey Department of Higher Education, called the Central King Building renovation “a testament to brilliance and imagination.”

“We are indebted to you, President Bloom, and the students for being cutting-edge in the State of New Jersey,” she said. “NJIT bears witness to a place that is beating the odds.”

Noting that “we are at an amazing time in the history of medicine,” Dr. Andrew L. Pecora, chief innovations officer and vice president of cancer services at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), discussed HUMC’s partnership with the Healthcare Delivery Systems Innovation Lab (iLab) at NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), which will include the development of innovation and commercialization centers. HUMC is the first health care charter member of NJII and also has a seat on the iLab’s advisory board.

“We could not think of a better place than NJIT and NJII,” he said.

Stephen P. DePalma ’72, chairman of the NJIT Board of Trustees, said that the Central King Building renovation is a critical step in the positioning of the university to continue its impressive growth and upward trajectory.

“The Central King Building renovation is part of a campus transformation that will improve our capabilities in research and innovation, enable us to attract faculty members who are among the best and brightest in their disciplines, and improve the educational experiences of and outcomes attained by our students,” DePalma said. “The new Central King Building will serve NJIT, its students, its community, its state and our economy well for many years to come.”

Also in attendance were Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., who described the Central King Building as “the crown jewel of the city of Newark.”

The historic renovation of the five-story Central King Building is the first wave of a $300 million capital building campaign that is invigorating research, teaching and community life at NJIT. Two new buildings are soon to follow: a 24,500-square-foot Life Sciences and Engineering Building and a 200,000-square-foot Wellness and Events Center with a 4,500-seat conferencing space that transforms into a 3,500-seat arena.

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