New Jersey City University has officially opened Squier Hall, a new 72,000-square-foot satellite location at 283 Sherrill Ave. in the Oceanport section of Fort Monmouth. — Courtesy: NJCU
By Joshua Burd
New Jersey City University has unveiled its new location at Fort Monmouth, in another key addition to the historic U.S. Army base and an expansion of higher education in the area.
Public officials and PRC Group, a locally based developer, joined university leaders on Aug. 25 to mark the opening of the 72,000-square-foot facility at 283 Sherrill Ave. in Oceanport. Known as Squier Hall, the property is now home to 15 classrooms, a nursing education center, a cybersecurity computer lab and offices for faculty and staff inside a renovated 1930s administrative building.
NJCU will offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at the site, giving the university the only four-year public higher education program in the area.
“The opening of NJCU at Fort Monmouth is the culmination of our collective vision of expanding public higher education to the Jersey Shore,” NJCU President Sue Henderson said. “This is a major milestone in the history of our institution. Through our investment in this multiyear project and our partnership with (the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority), many more students in the state will have the opportunity to complete their undergraduate studies and pursue master’s degrees close to home without incurring significant debt.
“This aligns with our mission of providing a diverse population with an excellent education as we continue to keep that promise for our next generation of students.”
PRC owns the property and spearheaded the renovation of the former Signal Corps building, with Clarke Caton Hintz serving as the project’s architect and Del Sano Contracting Corp. managing construction. Based in nearby Red Bank, PRC is among many developers that have invested in repurposing the landmark 1,126-acre base, which the federal government closed in 2011 after it spent more than 90 years as the Army’s hub for developing communications technology, intelligence and reconnaissance services.
“This is a very special day for me due to my commitment to higher education and I am especially proud to bring this university to Monmouth County, where I live and where I grew up,” said Robert M. Kaye, PRC Group’s founder, chairman and CEO.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, a state agency, is overseeing the site’s redevelopment. Those efforts have yielded a host of residential and commercial projects that are underway or recently completed, having attracted builders and users such as RPM Development, Denholtz Properties, Somerset Development and RWJBarnabas Health.
“FMERA has worked tirelessly toward its vision of restoring Fort Monmouth to its place as a creator of jobs and reinventing it as a driver of economic activity centered around innovation,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the state Economic Development Authority. “Welcoming NJCU onto Fort Monmouth furthers two of Governor (Phil) Murphy’s goals — increasing access to institutions of higher education and repositioning stranded assets to drive equitable and inclusive investment in our communities. A win-win by all accounts.”
NJCU noted that it has had a presence in Monmouth County for more than 15 years, offering degree-completion programs at Brookdale Community College’s Wall and Lincroft campuses. The new facility, which sits on more than 22 acres, also includes a flexible event space that will host organizations and community events as a partner to the Monmouth County community.
“The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education applauds NJCU for opening a new academic facility at Fort Monmouth, which will expand access and affordable postsecondary options to Monmouth County and the surrounding area,” said Brian K. Bridges, the state’s secretary of higher education. “This takes us closer to reaching our state’s commitment that every New Jerseyan, regardless of life circumstances or ZIP code, has the opportunity to attain a high-quality postsecondary credential.”