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Rutgers New Practice Facility: Here we go!

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Contracts have been signed and construction on the long....lo-o-o-ong-awaited practice facility will be underway next month

November 1, 2016.

Almost a year ago. That was the day of the symbolic groundbreaking for the new RWJBarnabas Health Performance Center. And a year ago, the partnership with RWJBarnabas Health was the real story.

“This partnership between New Jersey’s State University, with its academic health center, and the state’s most comprehensive integrated health system, will be transformational on many levels, giving our students and athletes a world-class sports medicine program and helping us construct a cutting-edge athletic training facility,” President Robert Barchi said at the time.

And the symbolic shovels in the ground by coaches whose teams will occupy the building - Steve Pikiell, C. Vivian Stringer, Scott Goodale, and Lou Levine - were just that: symbolic. Everyone knew that construction was a ways off and that fund raising had to increase.

That was then, this is now.

And it’s here. Contracts have been signed and the start - next month - is within sight. The anticipated finish date - and Pat Hobbs has been consistent in emphasizing the date - is summer of 2019.

Paying the bills

Funding the new facility got a kick start when Sen. Ray Lesniak, a Rutgers grad, sponsored legislation that would provide $25 million in tax credits for construction. The original cost estimate was $100 million, the goal of the R B1G Build campaign. In April, the Board of Governors approved the project with a cost estimate of $115 million.

Screenshot of RVision video above

Lesniak’s keystone legislation was for a 555-space parking deck integrated within the 125,000 sf facility. The BoG action would allow the university to bond for $26 million to pay for the parking garage, which will eventually be paid for with event parking fees. The university expects to pay for the rest of the project using funds raised through the R Big Ten Build campaign, a multimillion-dollar naming gift from RWJBarnabas Health, and tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program.

Speaking of the R B1G Build....

The latest posting on scarletknights.com showed the current progress of the campaign.

In late June, the total raised was $72,664,478. Since then, and let’s understand that the summer is going to be slow, the R Big Build has raised around $1.3 million. It seems a bit slow but hopefully with the new academic year underway, momrntum will build.

The contractor

Rutgers has signed on with Epic Construction as the lead design/build team. The firm has been around since 1971. They operate out of Piscataway, New York, and Milford, CT. Recent projects by Epic on the Rutgers campuses include renovations to the Food Science Lab on the Busch campus as well as the new housing on Livingston. Those buildings include the shops in Livingston Plaza.