NJ Governor Murphy, Jersey City Mayor Fulop, and Hudson County Executive DeGise to Headline Groundbreaking Ceremony for 30-Acre Innovation Campus Dedicated to Creating a Brighter Future Through Science
In addressing why America would go to the Moon, President John F. Kennedy said, “we do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills…”
The same creative vision and determination is driving Liberty Science Center in developing the 30-acre “City of Tomorrow” innovation campus called SciTech Scity that aims to launch and grow world-changing science and technology companies and reimagine public school science education. SciTech Scity will bring together scientists, community leaders, teachers, students, and other thinkers and doers who share renowned computer scientist Alan Kay’s prescription that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
On Friday, October 22, Liberty Science Center will break ground on the $300-million first phase of SciTech Scity. With the New York City skyline and Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, LSC Co-Chair Stephen Howe, and LSC Vice Chair Laura Overdeck will join Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center, in donning hard hats and wielding shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking at 10 a.m. at 222 Jersey City Boulevard.
“SciTech Scity is unique,” said Mr. Hoffman. “It’s what we’re calling a business optimizer, a new breed of innovation center that maximizes commercial success and social impact. Our goal is to convene experts from multiple disciplines and harness science and technology to solve social problems and turn leading-edge ideas into a reality that makes the world a radically better place. We also want to create the best science high school in the United States, for students in Hudson County. We’re honored that Governor Murphy, Mayor Fulop, and Hudson County Executive DeGise support this vision, and we thank them in advance for their participation in the groundbreaking.”
“As we break ground on SciTech Scity, we are entering a new era for Jersey City. One that fosters collaborative innovation on a level that has never been done before to create a coveted science-based public education for our local youth as part of an all-encompassing progressive campus where entrepreneurs and scientists can thrive,” said Mayor Fulop. “We’re in the midst of an incredible transformation as we further establish Jersey City as the sought-after destination for STEM education and innovation attracting world-class companies, jobs, investment, and countless other opportunities. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this groundbreaking moment.”
“We are proud to partner with Liberty Science Center in this exciting new venture,” said Hudson County Executive DeGise. “Our Schools of Technology have long been their own kind of incubator for aspiring scientists, technology innovators, and tech entrepreneurs. It is a pleasure to expand our long-held vision of science and technology education as a driver of sustainable economic growth here in Hudson County by becoming part of this remarkable global platform dedicated to that mission.”
Phase I of SciTech Scity is scheduled to open in late 2023 and 2024 and will comprise $300 million in new construction on 12.5 acres of land donated by the city of Jersey City:
Edge Works: The eight-story business incubation hub of SciTech Scity consisting of the Co-Creation Center, a 40,000-SF state-of-the-art conference center and bleeding-edge tech exhibition gallery, and The Works, 60,000 SF of research and development labs, workspaces, and co-working areas for dozens of start-ups plus skunkworks suites, product showcases, consumer testing labs, and offices for select well-established companies.
Liberty Science Center High School: A world-class public magnet STEM academy that will be operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology and provide programs in Earth (Sustainable Engineering and Climate Science), Life (Biological Sciences), and Space (Astrophysics) to 400 students in grades 9 – 12 from across Hudson County. LSC will arrange for the students to have intensive mentorships and work experiences with the companies and scientists at Edge Works and at LSC itself. LSC will also create preparatory programs for middle-school students from under-served communities in Jersey City and Hudson County who are passionate about science and aspire to attend the new high school.
Scholars Village: Residential housing being developed by Alpine Residential for innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, STEM graduate students, and individuals and families who desire to be a part of the SciTech Scity community. These residents will have the opportunity to test important new high-tech products in their homes before the rest of the world.
Public Commons: Four-acres of outdoor activations that encourage exploration, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. An events plaza comparable in size to the skating rink and outdoor area at Rockefeller Center for performances, concerts, maker fairs, farmers markets, huge participatory science experiments, hackathons, art projects, and food-truck festivals.
Subsequent phases of SciTech Scity may include expanded incubation spaces, wet labs, additional schools, a satellite campus of a major university, or other facilities to drive STEM innovation and job creation.
The existing Liberty Science Center and the new SciTech Scity construction will span 30 acres and be called the Frank J. Guarini Innovation Campus, named for the former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New Jersey State Senator, real estate developer and philanthropist from Jersey City who made a $10 million gift to LSC toward the creation of Edge Works. That gift, the largest received to date by the Center, was matched 50 cents on the dollar by a $5 million pledge from LSC Board Co-Chair David Barry. Four companies so far—EY, Verizon, Bank of America and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey—have signed on as Corporate Founding Sponsors and made seven-figure contributions. All in all, $42 million has been raised for Edge Works, with the remaining funding expected to come from financing and government sources.
An additional $5 million in private donations was raised to jumpstart the creation of Liberty Science Center High School, with Laura and John Overdeck providing a lead gift which was subsequently matched by contributions from the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Joe and Millie Williams, PSEG, Norm Worthington, and others. Hudson County has pledged to float bonds to finance the school’s construction, and both Jersey City and Hudson County have pledged to provide operational support for Liberty Science Center High School for 30 years.
Liberty Science Center (LSC.org) is a 300,000-square-foot, not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to learners of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. Before Covid, more than 250,000 students visited the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participated in the Center’s off-site and online programs. Welcoming more than 750,000 visitors annually, LSC is the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area.