SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The former Marylawn Catholic school on Scotland Road would house Seton Hall University’s School of Medical and Health Sciences if university’s proposal for the site is approved.
The dean of the SMHS and the project’s lead architect testified before the Board of Adjustment on Tuesday night, detailing the planned academic use and the structural changes needed.
Many of the residents attending the meeting had questions about traffic and parking, but those were deferred to the next meeting, when the university’s traffic expert is scheduled to testify.
Dean Brian Schulman explained that the seven graduate programs offered by the SMHS are housed in five separate buildings on Seton Hall’s main campus. Programs include physician’s assistant, occupational therapy, physical therapy, athletic training, speech language pathology, healthcare administration and a doctoral program in health sciences.
He said the school is seeking a place to consolidate operations. “Our South Orange campus cannot provide that,” he said.
Instruction would take place in nine classroom spaces, as well as simulation laboratories and an anatomy laboratory that would house cadavers, according to Schulman. Currently, students travel off campus for simulation and anatomy laboratories.
There are currently about 560 students enrolled in the SMHS, but not all of the students would be in class on the same days, Schulman said. The plan for Marylawn would accommodate approximately 300 students at a time for classes during the day.
Although Seton Hall’s application indicates the university would not demolish the Graves House that is on the property, there are no plans to use the mansion for classroom space, according to Michael Shakin, the project architect.
“The mansion is very challenging because it is a residential occupancy,” he said. “It yields almost nothing in classroom space.”
Shakin provided drawings showing the major architectural changes to the building, which include creating a new entrance and adding a second story to one wing of the school. He said the addition would meet the village’s height restrictions.
Repairs would be made to the masonry and windows, and the building would be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Shakin said.
In addition, the university would upgrade and replace the building’s systems, including heating, air conditioning and ventilation, which an acoustician previously verified would meet day and nighttime noise ordinance requirements, according to Shakin. A strobic fan ventilation system will be required for the anatomy laboratory to ensure no chemical smells or “objectionable” odors are vented.
“We were able to validate that Marylawn is large enough to accommodate the program,” Shakin said. “This is a good, adapted reuse of this facility.”
Testimony on the Seton Hall project will continue at the July 1 Board of Adjustment meeting.
The reporter is a student participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.
Amy Kiste Nyberg contributed to this report.