NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A two-step plan unveiled Tuesday would add more than $800 million in development to the city, including the construction of a world-class cancer facility and a state-of-the-art elementary school.
Mayor Jim Cahill, DEVCO President Chris Paladino and Dr. Steven Libutti, the senior vice president of RWJ/Barnabus Health and director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said a proposed $750 million Cancer Pavilion would tower 12 stories into the city sky and cover about 510,000 square feet.
With outpatient care that would include 84 infusion bays and 74 exam rooms and inpatient care that would feature 96 beds and a dedicated floor for surgical procedures, Libutti said the pavilion would be "one of the top 10, if not top 5, cancer programs in the country."
The pavilion would be connected by a bridge over Somerset Street to the Cancer Institute. A second bridge would connect it to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
The pavilion is earmarked to be built on the site that is currently the home for the Lincoln Annex School.
The school is located yards from RWJUH's front door, making it the ideal place for the pavilion because, as Cahill said, "Cancer doesn't travel well."
Cahill rolled out a plan in which Lincoln Annex would be razed and replaced by a $55 million school to be built on about 6.7 acres of land on Jersey Avenue. The 4.7-acre space at 131 Jersey Ave. is vacant. Cahill said the adjoining property at 121 Jersey Ave. has recently been put up for sale.
Cahill said in the short term, students at Lincoln Annex would attend the district's space at 40 Van Dyke Ave. That space is home to 40 students enrolled in the district's P-TECH initiative.
The Lincoln Annex School is home to about 750 students in grades 3-7.
To move forward with the plan would need approval from the Board of Education. Also, the restriction placed on the deed by the Diocese of Metuchen when it sold the old St. Peter's school to the city would have to be addressed.
"It is the school board that will determine, first of all, if it likes the site or if they have any other sites," Cahill said. "It will be the school board that designs the building and lays the building out. But before we brought this and submitted it to the board, our thoughts on the matter, it was important for us to indeed decide that the Lincoln Annex site was the site that works best for the overall benefit of the city and if so, what can we recommend to the school as a site to make this an even better location than we have today."