Frank Gargiulo, superintendent of Hudson County Schools of Technology — the group of countywide public schools in Hudson County — walked for the first time through the front doors of the new High Tech High School campus in Secaucus last month. The new complex was named for Gargiulo, who looked a little embarrassed standing in front of the foot-high letters, emblazoned with his name.
The new high school opened its doors this fall after moving its campus from North Bergen. Officials from throughout the state and county had gathered to hold an official grand opening ceremony to celebrate both the new building and the man it was named for.
A host of Democrats came to pay tribute to Gargiulo, some joking about his being a registered Republican.
Among the dignitaries were Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet.
“Students in New Jersey deserve an educational experience that will nurture their creative ideas and challenge them to succeed,” Murphy said. “Whether it be teenagers studying computer science and performing arts for the first time or young adults going back to school to earn their high school diploma, this new campus will provide generations of Hudson County students with a cutting-edge public education.”
The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus is a $160 million project that received more than half of its funding from the New Jersey Department of Education. The new facility is home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep, and Hudson Technical, and features three levels of classrooms, an underground parking garage, a 340-seat theater, a gymnasium; it also houses the district’s administrative offices.
“I am proud of our partnership with the New Jersey Department of Education to secure funding for this beautiful new campus to provide Hudson County students with a facility that matches the top-notch education they receive.” — Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise
The complex is adjacent to Laurel Hill Park, near the Secaucus Junction NJ Transit station. The school has been constructed on a 22-acre site owned by the county, roughly twice the size of the old High Tech building in North Bergen.
It has wings dedicated to vocational academies focused on culinary arts, design and fabrication, performing arts, technical and visual arts, and science tech.
A fabrication lab helps students explore spatial ideas through model building. The school also has a 120-seat black box theater, a 325-seat performing arts auditorium, 80-inch interactive monitors that replace and enhance standard chalkboard learning, and a TV production studio with a functioning control room. Outdoor amenities include a hydroponic rooftop garden where students will grow food to be used in the culinary kitchen lab.
The school also serves as a satellite for Hudson County Community College.
“Growing up in Hudson County, it was always clear to me that quality public education is essential to helping nurture the future leaders of our state and our country,” said Sen. Bob Menendez. “This beautiful new campus is a testament to the vision of Hudson County officials who want the best for local students, and I’m thrilled to see that vision become a reality.”
About 1,200 students are enrolled in various programs at the school.
In addition to a traditional four-year high school, the new campus building also houses KAS Prep – an alternative high school program – and Hudson Technical, a post-secondary certification program.
This school was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Features such as water-efficient landscaping, geothermal heating, green roof and wind turbines reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and wastewater emitted from the campus.
Gargulio has served in Hudson County education for about three decades both as an instructor and administrator.
“Our mission at the Hudson County Schools of Technology is to provide students with an innovative and progressive education,” said Acting County Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez. “The opening of the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus allows us to keep to our commitment in giving students a unique, hands-on experience as they strive for success in and out of the classroom.”
“I am proud of our partnership with the New Jersey Department of Education to secure funding for this beautiful new campus to provide Hudson County students with a facility that matches the top-notch education they receive,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise in a statement. “As a former educator, nothing makes me happier than seeing students walk through the halls of this school filled with excitement to learn. I thank the entire staff of the Hudson County Schools of Technology for working diligently to make the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus a reality.”