Dr. Sue Henderson, president of New Jersey City University (NJCU), announced the official kickoff of NJCU’s fundraising initiative for the Caroline and Frank Guarini, Sr. Performing Arts Center (PAC) this week.
The fundraising goal is to raise $10 million over two years, adding to the $10 million donation former Congressman Frank Guarini gave earlier this year.
The center will be a 25,437-square-foot theatrical showplace comprising a 492-seat theater with an orchestra pit, fly stage, and a 100-seat recital hall.
The PAC will have two large dance studios for rehearsal and performances with a large public plaza, dressing rooms, scenery fabrication shop and storage, grand lobby, and special event space.
Plans for the PAC have already led to a partnership between NJCU and the Joffrey Ballet School as the new facility will serve as home to the ballet trainer.
Joffrey students and prospective college students may apply directly to the collaborative NJCU-Joffrey Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance program.
“I am so proud to launch this campaign to raise the necessary funds to complete this game changing project for the benefit of our vibrant community,” said Henderson. “Frank’s generous and transformative $10 million gift, the largest in the University’s history, provides us with the critical financial support necessary to take these exciting final steps. A performing arts center of this scale and the programming it will provide has largely been out of reach to many in our community. Exposure and involvement in the arts has been proven to be a critical part of proper educational and social development. Now more than ever, such facilities are needed in Hudson County so that everyone has access to spaces that allow us to imagine a better future for all.”
Congressman Guarini will serve as honorary chair for the campaign which he said will bring vitality to the city’s west side.
“It is an honor to have my parents associated with this groundbreaking and ambitious project,” said Congressman Guarini. “In addition to transforming the area and bringing jobs and added revenue to the city and the county, I know that this initiative will provide everyone with a special place to gather and be inspired. Since Dr. Henderson arrived at NJCU, her energy, vision and enthusiasm has led to many positive changes and this project is just one of many. She is a catalyst for growth and it has been an empowering experience to be a part of it. It’s a privilege to call her a colleague and friend.”
The PAC will serve as the cornerstone for NJCU’s University Place, a $400 million redevelopment project which is planned on 22-acres in Jersey City’s West Side area.
The development will feature a 425 bed Residence Hall, 52,305 square feet of Educational Space and 25,437 square feet of Entertainment Space with four additional mixed-used properties to include 700 condominiums and 90,000 square feet of Dining and Retail space made possible by $250 M in private investments.
According to the university the initiative will lay the foundation to become a vibrant community of 1,600 residents and students and a destination for educational, cultural and entertainment opportunities, as well as new retail and dining establishments.
“University Place is a collaboration that was conceived more than a decade ago,” said Henderson. It began as a vision of NJCU’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, and executive leadership team. Working together with the forward-looking city, county, and state officials who saw the need for the revitalization of Jersey City’s West Side, University Place was launched as a “P3” – Public-Private Partnership – thanks to the engagement of a team of entrepreneurial developers.”
She said through this partnership the buildings will be constructed at no cost to NJCU students or the University.
Established in 1927 as a training school for teachers, today NJCU is among the most comprehensive universities in the state. NJCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Education, Professional Studies, and School of Business offer 47 undergraduate degree programs and 30 graduate programs, including emerging and interdisciplinary fields.
NJCU operates two additional campus sites—NJCU School of Business at Harborside Plaza 2 in Jersey City’s financial district and NJCU at Brookdale in Wall Township in Monmouth County.
NJCU will asoon open another campus in Fort Monmouth, NJ.