State-of-the-art, $150M High Tech High School opens in Secaucus

High Tech High School, a $150 million, 350,000-square-foot facility dedicated to STEM study, opened Monday in Secaucus.

The magnet school, which replaces an aging, undersized North Bergen campus, will have nearly 2,000 students in grades 9-12 from across Hudson County. The school, set on the 20-acre Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, will have more than 70 leading-edge classrooms and specialty spaces.

The school building, home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep and Hudson Technical, is located at One High Tech Way at Laurel Hill Park, near the Frank R. Lautenberg NJ Transit train station.  The campus’ wings will incorporate four academies of vocational education: Culinary Arts, Design & Fabrication, Applied & Environmental Science, and Visual/Tech & Performing Arts.

Amy Lin-Rodriguez, acting superintendent of Hudson County Schools of Technology, said the school is as good as any other in the state and beyond.

“The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus will quickly become the gold standard for technical high schools across the country. Our design team, working collaboratively with our educators, have created something truly revolutionary,” she said. “I know that it will serve our students and staff with the resources to drive learning to the next level.”

The new campus features a fabrication lab to help students explore spatial ideas through model building, a 120-seat black box theater, 325-seat performing arts auditorium, 80-inch interactive monitors to replace and enhance standard chalkboard learning, and a TV production studio with a functioning control room. Outdoor features include a hydroponic rooftop garden, where students will grow food to be used in the culinary kitchen lab.

John P. Capazzi, president of RSC Architects, the project’s design bridging architect, said the school was built for now — and the future.

“Education trends are leaning more towards project-based learning to teach students ‘real world’ lessons, as opposed to sitting behind desks in a classroom,” he said.

This school was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s rigorous gold standards and requirements for sustainability. Features such as water efficient landscaping, geothermal heating, green roof and wind turbines were implemented to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and wastewater emitted from the campus.

The Hudson County Improvement Authority managed the design and construction process for Hudson County Schools of Technology and partnered with RSC Architects, DMR Architects, MAST Construction Services and Terminal Construction Corp. to design and build the school.

The vision for the facility began more than 10 years ago. The project took just over two years to complete.

The new campus was dedicated to the former superintendent of HCST, Frank J. Gargiulo.

“I am humbled by the decision to dedicate this campus in my name,” Gargiulo said. “These students are among the brightest in the country and deserve a quality space to study and prepare themselves academically for the future.”