Construction is set to begin for the newest academic building on the Kean University campus after the Board of Trustees recently approved a contract for the College of Business and Public Management building off Morris Avenue.
The new state-of-the-art structure will bring together all of the college’s undergraduate and graduate programs in 90,000 square feet that includes an auditorium; a “Bloomberg room” where students will work on the Bloomberg business intelligence software; classrooms; study lounges; a virtual “library in the sky” and a rooftop deck with a view of New York City.
The building is slated to go up on a site formerly owned by the Merck company that adjoins a new mixed-use neighborhood of housing and retail currently under construction.
Kean President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., called the building “magnificent” in his opening-day address to the Kean community earlier this month.
“It will be beautiful, spacious, modern, and an anchor to our newest property and to our newly developing neighborhood. Most of all — it is designed with the students in mind at every turn,” said Felice Vazquez, Kean’s vice-president for planning. “Kean is a global world-class university and this project gives the College of Business and Public Management a building fitting of the label, with a sixth-floor view of Manhattan to match.”
The board awarded the construction contract to Natoli Construction Corp., of Pinebrook. Work is set to begin shortly with an anticipated opening in 2020.
The new facility will better prepare students to become business and public management professionals by simulating the modern business environment.
David Farrokh, assistant dean of the College of Business and Public Management, said faculty members are thrilled that construction of the new building is about to get underway.
“It underscores the president’s vision for an enhanced student experience and will help allow us to supplement the classroom experience with experiential types of learning,” Farrokh said.
The College of Business and Public Management stresses learning experiences such as internships; a global practicum in which students work in teams with companies overseas; a business plan competition done in the style of the “Shark Tank” TV show; and other opportunities.
Kean alumnus Jim Hynes, a generous supporter of the University — his name is on the baseball stadium, and his wife Carole’s name is on the Kean field house — said he was “heartened” to see that the College of Business and Public Management is getting a new building.
He built his own successful plastics business after graduating from Kean’s predecessor, Newark State College, in 1963 with a degree in industrial education. Hynes said he credits Kean with putting him on a path to achieve his financial goals.
“I learned entrepreneurship is key in the business world,” he said. “It was very exciting for me to go out on my own and start my own business. I had a lot of confidence in my ability, and Newark State gave me the opportunity to find myself, to identify myself and know that I had what it takes to get into the business world.”
Hynes says he has pledged to support the construction of the business school financially.
“I want to give back,” he said. “It’s that simple. I was so driven to pay back to a school that gave me a chance.”