Education

Price of Rutgers Science Renovation Rises by $3 Million

The Waksman Institute of Microbiology on Rutgers' Busch Campus.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — When Rutgers University approved the $6 million addition to its prominent Waksman Institute of Microbiology in 2015, school officials believed the building could hold a new, third floor.

But that wasn’t true. A professional working on behalf of Rutgers found that $3 million in additional work would need to be done to make that happen, according to Joachim Messing, director of the Busch Campus-based institute.

That’s one reason why Rutgers’ Board of Governors recently voted to amend the budget and work plan for the addition to the Waksman Institute. Rather than adding a roughly 7,400-square-foot third floor, the university signed off to build a 10,500-square-foot structure next to the building, totaling $9 million, or roughly the same as the initial plan, according to Rutgers.

Sign Up for E-News

The three-story addition will include a new entrance, wet and dry laboratory space, private offices, a conference room with a kitchenette and administrative support spaces, according to university documents. The top two floors will measure roughly 6,000 square feet and house researchers, Messing said, while the ground level will mostly accommodate “shelf space” but can be converted into laboratories.

Initial plans called for a third floor to be built atop the Braun laboratory, one of several wings in the institute. As amended, the project is now slated to be constructed near a newer wing.

The university revised its plans after “further deliberation and study,” according to school documents. Officials found that construction would displace a number researchers, including one of the institute’s “most productive,” Messing said.

“We couldn’t really implement this without hardship on one of our principal investigators,” Messing told TAPinto New Brunswick, “therefore, we came up with an alternative solution.”

The institute director cited the need for continued research as the chief cause of the pivot.

Waksman researchers study molecular genetics. Teams research the genetic code of E. coli, yeast, animal systems and even plants like sorghum and tobacco.

Messing has recently secured the money for a second endowed chair in molecular genetics. That means whoever fills the position will have guaranteed funding to research whatever the institute decides, unlike many scientists who must narrow their interests to fit the requirements of government grants.

Such employees typically require 3,000 square feet of space, Messing said. That number is the size difference between the original plan and what’s now expected to be built.

“You must make it attractive,” Messing said. “To get that person to move here to Rutgers, you must offer good laboratory space and a good startup package.”

The Waksman Institute of Microbiology was built in 1954. Rutgers added a second floor in 1998, which was paid for by rent payments from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and was supposed to support the future construction of a third floor.

Asbestos was also used to build parts of the institute, Messing said. That factored into the recent decision to amend plans for a renovation.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - June 23, 2017

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CAMDEN - Offer them cash and they will come. Okay, clearly this city is no field of dreams. Yet a bunch of dreamers think Camden could become the shimmering East Coast hub for high-tech businesses. To find the next Jeff Bezos (who started Amazon in his garage), the South Jersey Times says the "Camden Innovation Team" is ...

Rutgers Ranks High Among Research Universities

June 23, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — There seems to be something to the slogan “Jersey Roots. Global Reach.”

For the second consecutive year, Rutgers University has cracked the top 100 list of the world’s premier research universities, according to CWTS Leiden Rankings. Rutgers placed 34th in the United States and 77th internationally, in a group of more than 900 schools from 54 ...

At Rutgers, a History of Conservatism Intertwined with Controversy

Editor’s note: This story is the fourth in a five-part series on the Rutgers Conservative Union. Through that lens, TAPinto New Brunswick intends to provide a comprehensive look at an energetic year of on-campus activism at New Jersey’s flagship university. The third part is available here.

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — As the clock ticked closer to 10 p.m., the ...

Read Our 5-Part Series on the Rutgers Conservative Union

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Over the past week, TAPinto New Brunswick has published the first several parts of a comprehensive series on an arguably historic year of activism at Rutgers University. We've told this story through the lens of the Rutgers Conservative Union, a campus group that has made waves since its formation in the spring semester.

So far, the series has sparked plenty ...

County and Activists Defend Middlesex Policy Against Attacks from GOP, ICE

June 20, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Since Middlesex County adopted a policy forbidding, in most cases, its jail and sheriff’s department from aiding immigration authorities, the feds, national right-leaning media and local Republicans have come out against the move.

But the backlash has also re-energized the pro-immigrant activists who pushed the county to adopt the policy in the first place.

OPINION

In the Meadowlands, New Jersey Must Protect Migrating Birds

June 23, 2017

With ongoing construction in the Meadowlands in recent decades, an unanticipated cost has become more and more apparent: an alarming number of bird deaths.

The Meadowlands attracts tens of thousands of birds each year, representing more than 200 species, as it offers a diversity of habitats and sits in the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration corridor for many different birds, from ...

Middlesex County Senior Artists Invited To Participate in Annual Show

June 20, 2017

​The Middlesex County Office of Aging and Disabled Services’ annual juried Senior Citizen Art Contest & Exhibition is scheduled for July 17 through Aug. 10 at The Studio Art Gallery at Middlesex County College’s Performing Arts Center, 2600 Woodbridge Ave. in Edison.

Any artist, age 60 or over, may submit one entry completed within the past three years to the Middlesex County ...

One More Trenton Raid?

June 20, 2017

June is budget month in Trenton; the Governor and state Legislature are seeking to balance the budget in a challenging fiscal situation. Unfortunately, environmental funds top the list of places to find “extra” money to balance the budget.

Just a few months ago, with strong bipartisan support, the state Legislature acted to give voters the opportunity to protect natural resource ...