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GLASSBORO, NJ-Rowan University has received a $6-million grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as the first step toward development of the South Jersey Technology Center. The money comes on top of $6 million already allocated in the state’s 2000-2001 budget for development of the project by Rowan, a state-supported university.

The project is the first of what could be as many as seven tech parks planned throughout Southern New Jersey, which has traditionally lagged behind the Central and Northern parts of the Garden State in terms of economic development. South Jersey Technology Center is planned to be a focal point of high-tech product development and commercialization by allowing companies and Rowan faculty and students to interact and conduct more federal- and state-funded research projects. The school’s engineering, business and science colleges and departments are expected to be heavily involved in the project’s mission.

Job creation and development of new companies is the ultimate goal. “A state university has an obligation to take a leadership role in economic development,” explains Rowan president Dr. Donald Farish. “We want to fulfill that obligation, and the Technology Center will be instrumental in helping us do so.”

As far as the EDA funding, “it recognizes our academic expertise and potential to be an economic growth engine for the region,” adds Dr. Philip Tumminia, executive vice president for university advancement. “Government and industry leaders in the region have provided their support for this project.”

The university plans to develop the project on a 50-acre site that it recently acquired just outside of Glassboro in Manuta, NJ. Glassboro is located about 25 miles south of Philadelphia. The first phase will be a 25,000-sf building that will cost upwards of $20 million. Rowan is looking to partner with corporations in the region to help make up the difference between the state funding and the total cost.

The initial structure is expected to be ready by late 2002. While total projected costs haven’t been disclosed, university officials are planning a build-out of four buildings totaling 560,000 sf. The site will be designed for further expansion beyond that, at some point down the road.

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