A state-of-the-art high school that offers skill-centric science, technology, engineering and math classes for 400 science-talented high school students — one that also will leverage a work education program around the 200-plus technology startup companies and entrepreneurs that will call SciTech Scity home — will get its final approvals this week.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, the board of Hudson County Schools of Technology and Liberty Science Center have signed a formal memorandum of understanding to begin construction of SciTech Scity’s public high school. They are just waiting on approvals by the county commissioner board and city council, which should come this week.
It’s the latest step in what many hope will be the creation of the top public high school in the country.
The school, which will be built next to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, will be a highlight of SciTech Scity, the planned 30-acre innovation campus developers are calling a “mini city of the future.”
It aims to be a technological hub for students, innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists working together to create a community for learning and innovation.
The city of Jersey City donated 12.5 acres to SciTech Scity and will provide $2 million annually in financial assistance for school operating costs. Liberty Science Center will contribute nearly $3.5 million for the construction of the project.
The public-private partnership is a shared agreement on the design, financing, construction and programming for a new world-class, science-focused Liberty Science Center High School, located within SciTech Scity.
Under the MOU, the Hudson County Improvement Authority is designated to manage the project and coordinate with the Hudson County Schools of Technology, the operating authority for the public county magnet high school, with shared financial cost between county government, city government, Liberty Science Center and philanthropic donors.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was thrilled the project is getting started.
“Partnering with the county, we’re creating an unparalleled opportunity for hundreds of students each year by disrupting the status quo and acting as a catalyst to promote future scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs in a one-of-a-kind setting that will become a sought-after destination for inspiration and innovation,” he said.
“Liberty Science Center High School will be a key asset interwoven into all SciTech Scity will offer, with internships, innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists coming together to create a hub for learning and creation.”
“Hudson County is home to some of our state’s most talented students, and we are committed to providing them with the innovative and creative educational resources they need to achieve success,” he said. “The school at SciTech Scity will undoubtedly expose our students to opportunities they would not otherwise have, and I’m excited to soon see students walking the halls of this state-of-the-art facility.”
Few are happier than Paul Hoffman, the CEO of Liberty Science Center and SciTech Scity.
“From the earliest days of dreaming up SciTech Scity, a state-of-the-art science high school has always been an anchor component,” he said.
To date, LSC has raised $30 million in philanthropic donations for the innovation campus, including $5 million specifically for the public high school via a generous matching donation from Laura and John Overdeck.
“Ever since Thomas Edison’s light bulb, New Jersey has been famous for scientific innovation and the brilliant people who make it happen,” Laura Overdeck said. “Thanks to the foresight of LSC and the leadership of Jersey City and Hudson County, this new high school will provide our students a whole new trajectory for learning that prepares them for cutting-edge STEM careers.”
LSC plans to break ground on SciTech Scity in 2021 and open the first phase, including the Edge Works incubator, in 2023. Edge Works will provide nearly 100,000 square feet of research labs, private studios, open workspaces and a conference center.
Also onsite will be Scholars Village, a residential component for innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs and their families.