Princeton to hold groundbreaking for Lake Campus, major expansion of school’s grounds

University plans to build graduate student housing, parking and athletic facilities — all with eye toward sustainable infrastructure

Princeton University leaders will join elected officials from West Windsor Township on Tuesday afternoon for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the university’s Lake Campus, a significant expansion of the school’s grounds that will add graduate student housing, parking and athletic facilities — all done with an eye toward sustainable infrastructure.

The projects, which were approved by the West Windsor planning board in 2020, represent the first major development on the university’s property in West Windsor. University trustees acquired the land — nearly 400 acres bounded by Alexander Road, Lake Carnegie, Harrison Street and Route 1 — more than a century ago.

Princeton President Chris Eisgruber, West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe and a number of other officials are expected to be on hand for the ceremony.

Here’s a quick look at what the initial phase of the Lake Campus development will bring:

  • Housing: By 2023, there will be more than 600 postdoctoral researchers and graduate students living on the Lake Campus, a parking garage with more than 600 parking spaces and a geoexchange facility to heat and cool structures;
  • Athletics: By 2025, there will be a tennis and racket center with eight indoor tennis courts, eight outdoor courts, 14 squash courts and a fitness space, as well as a softball stadium, playing fields for rugby and recreational sports, and a new cross-country course;
  • Jobs: Over the next four years, this site will see nearly 1,000 construction jobs. When the first phase is complete, at least 30 permanent university jobs will have been created in association with these new facilities.

Princeton officials are proud of the fact the development will be done in an environmentally friendly way.

Princeton officials said the university already produces 4.5 kilowatts of solar energy in West Windsor at an existing solar field. That number will be increased to 12.2 kW when the two additional solar fields already under construction in West Windsor are completed. This will represent nearly 75% of the university’s overall solar production capacity.

Additional sustainability features of this phase of development include:

  • The Lake Campus development will be a completely dedicated geoexchange campus that is sustainable from the inception. It will be heated and cooled with thermal energy by way of over 150 geoexchange well bores located beneath the softball stadium, which will heat and cool the new graduate student housing and new racquet center as well as provide capacity for future construction;
  • The graduate student housing will feature Passive House design. The design, a first of its kind for the university, is significant in that the reduction of energy usage associated with Passive House decreases the number of geoexchange bores required for the system, resulting in a more efficient use of the land;
  • There will be extensive pathways linking to local and regional path systems to encourage walking and biking, and robust connections to TigerTransit to encourage use of mass transit;
  • The landscape design provides the setting for a unique integration with the larger Princeton campus, and with the D&R Canal State Park with the design of the campus intended to contribute to the ecological role of the park corridor.