Rutgers University broke ground today on one of the biggest makeovers of the College Avenue campus since the school’s founders set up shop near the New Brunswick street in Colonial days.
The $330 million project, overseen by the New Brunswick Development Corporation, will give the state university a new honors college, academic building, student apartments, stores and a campus green with a 600-foot outdoor screen to broadcast football games and movies. Rutgers Hillel and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary will also get new buildings.
“We are creating a new heart for the historic campus of this university,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said.
Taxpayers will pick up part of the tab for the makeover through $55 million in state bond funds and $33 million in urban transit hub tax credits.
Gov. Chris Christie joined Barchi and a group of campus officials and local dignitaries as they symbolically plunged red shovels into a pile of dirt to kick off the project. Behind them, the actual work was underway with the construction of a new building for the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, which sold part of its campus to Rutgers to make space for some of the new buildings.
“The face of Rutgers and New Brunswick will certainly change forever,” New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill said.