NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University held an opening ceremony for its new $115 million Chemistry and Chemical Biology building providing laboratories for research in the fields of health and alternative energy among other sciences.
The four-story, 144,000 square-foot structure on the Busch Campus in Piscataway includes classroom space, and combines programs that previously were housed in three buildings.
Most of the funding for the building came from the state's 2012 "Building Our Future" bond act, university officials said.
Rutgers president Robert Barchi acknowledged the commitment from state officials, saying the structure "is a building they can be proud of."
"It is both visually appealing in its architecture and equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories that will enable our scientists and students to make important new discoveries," Barchi said.
State Deputy Education Commissioner Diana Gonzalez, speaking at the ceremony, emphasized the interest in science education to expand business in New Jersey.
"Investment in science has been a top priority for (Gov. Phil Murphy). Thinking about an innovation economy, that is a critical, critical area for when we're talking about economic growth for our state," Gonzlaez said.
John Brennan, chair of the Rutgers Chemistry and Chemistry Biology Department, said the new building provides environmental controls over temperature, humidity and stability against vibration that the other the old chemistry buildings lacked.
"An atomic bomb could go off in New York City and you wouldn't know it here," Brennan said. Staff members said weather conditions, such as rainy days, would adversely impact experiments conducted in the old laboratories.
"This is a building the chemistry department has needed for 30 years, and now we are happy we have it," Brennan said.
Various molecular research is already underway in the building is areas of finding chemicals for the treatment cancer, HIV and Alzheimer's Disease as well has creating fuels for sustainable sources of energy.
More than 6,000 students take chemistry courses at the university each semester, Rutgers officials said.
"We're preparing students for success in fields from pharmaceuticals to flavors, from petroleum to semiconductors," said interim Rutgers New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher Molloy.