NJIT Faculty, Staff and Students
Robert A. Altenkirch
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Capital Bond Proposal

You may know from some of my presentations on campus, or from the local media, that the New Jersey Presidents’ Council has been working on the possibility of the State issuing bonds to fund capital construction on the campuses of the twelve senior public colleges and universities as well as the county colleges. In discussions with the Governor’s Office, it was suggested that we develop a capital construction “proposal” that would be funded through State bonding. This would presume that a bond question, supported by the Governor’s Office and voted by the Legislature, would be placed on the ballot for the 2006 election, and passed by the electorate.

The rationale for such a capital construction fund derives from the facts that New Jersey’s colleges and universities:

• have identified $5.8 billion in capital needs to improve facility quality and allow for programmatic expansion and increased enrollments,

• are among the most leveraged public institutions in the nation, with approximately $2.5 billion in outstanding debt,

• do not receive annual funds for capital construction, and

• have not participated in a general obligation bond issue for all of higher education’s capital needs since 1988.

As a result of the above, debt service on construction in the recent past has been funded from state appropriated operating funds and tuition and fee revenue, resulting in part in the tuition levels that NJIT and state institutions have had to charge to balance budgets.

The initial work of the twelve senior public colleges and universities, in consultation with the county colleges, is complete, and a draft of a capital construction program has been submitted to the Governor’s Office for review and comment. An excerpt from that draft program proposal, in particular as it relates to NJIT, can be found at:

The list of NJIT projects that appears in the program proposal derives from the list of capital needs that has existed for a number of years and is yearly submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in Trenton, with the exception of the acquisition and renovation of the Central High School building (functions to include large classrooms and the NJIT Math-Science Teacher Education Center), which we have discussed on a number of occasions in multiple forums. While we do not have a time certain when we might be able to acquire the Central High building, it seemed prudent to add it to the list so that should that acquisition come to fruition in the near future, we have at least indicated a need for renovation funds.

The NJIT list, and many of the lists of the other institutions, is sufficiently broad that should the bond issue become a reality, we will be able to make adjustments to accommodate results of the campus master planning effort, which is now underway.

I will keep you apprised of progress on this initiative as new information becomes available.