The New Brunswick Board of Education has received a proposal from the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) in regards to Lincoln Annex School. Included below is the letter of proposal:
February 7, 2020
Dr. Aubrey A. Johnson, Superintendent
New Brunswick Board of Education
268 Baldwin Street
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Dear Dr. Johnson:
We are writing to request your consideration of a plan for the development of a major expansion to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey on the site of the current Lincoln School Annex on Somerset Street.
Critical to the operational success of the new Cancer Pavilion – which will provide essential facilities for the research, diagnosis, treatment and care for those with cancer – will be its location on a site that will allow for direct connectivity to existing facilities and the need for a site of sufficient size to support the specialized equipment and operations that will be included within the new Cancer Pavilion. The Lincoln School Annex site provides the ideal location for the development of this new facility.
If the Lincoln School Annex does become the location of the new Cancer Pavilion, the children and families of Lincoln Annex will need a new location and facility that meets with the requirements established by the New Brunswick Board of Education. Identifying an appropriate relocation plan for this school is an important issue for the city as a whole and approval of any relocation plan for the school is certainly subject to approval by the Board. In seeking the Board’s approval for the conveyance of the Lincoln Annex site for the Cancer Pavilion project, we thought it prudent to provide a suggestion as to a replacement site, which we have provided as part of this correspondence. If the Board determines that there is another more suitable location or locations, we will of course investigate such a site(s) and provide the necessary evaluation based upon specific requirements that the Board may provide.
Not only are we committed to working with the Board to identify a new site that will meet the Board’s specific requirements, we have committed that the Board will not incur any cost in connection with the development of the new school or in the relocation to an interim school facility. The project budget for the Cancer Pavilion has incorporated the funds necessary for the relocation and development of a new school (estimated to be $55 million) – together with the necessary funds associated with the temporary relocation that will be required prior to the completion of the new school.
In connection with this request, we have provided below a more detailed description of the Cancer Pavilion project together with an overview of the suggested site for relocation of the school.
CANCER PAVILION PROJECT
The Cancer Pavilion is planned as a 12-story, 510,000 square foot facility that when completed, will be the only free-standing National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in New Jersey.
The proposed $750 million Cancer Pavilion will allow for the consolidation of key cancer services into a single location which will allow for expanded diagnostic and treatment services, expanded infusion, chemotherapy & radiation oncology services and an outpatient clinic. The Cancer Pavilion project will provide for the development of New Jersey’s only oncology inpatient hospital and the creation of a new oncology urgent care center to reduce costly ER visits for cancer patients. The new Cancer Pavilion will provide access to multidisciplinary clinics – an essential component to modern cancer diagnostic and treatment services. The new Cancer Pavilion will also provide state of the art laboratory space to accommodate 10 new research teams – each dedicated to the search for new scientific outcomes and critical cancer treatments. The location of both research and treatment facilities in a single building will also allow for direct access to support clinical trials that are born from the research being performed on site.
The new comprehensive cancer center will be designed to create the highest quality, most efficient and safest environment for a patient-and-family centered healing environment. The consolidation of services into a single Cancer Pavilion will provide significant opportunities to improve the overall experience of patients who are being treated at the facility while expanding service offerings to cancer patients and accommodating an additional 20,000 patient visits each year.
Critical to the operational success of the new Cancer Pavilion will be its location on a site that will allow for direct connectivity to existing hospital and medical facilities and that is of sufficient size to support the nature of the specialized equipment and operations that will be included within the new facility. With respect to connectivity, the building will require direct links to the existing Cancer Institute and the RWJ University Hospital in order to allow for the seamless transfer of patients, materials, and equipment between the facilities as may be required in connection with patient care. A bridge connection would allow for safe and efficient transport of a cancer patient to be brought to the Pavilion after a procedure in the hospital; of a patient presenting in the Emergency Room being brought to the Cancer Pavilion; of a cancer patient that must be transported to the hospital for non-cancer related medical treatment; and the movement of essential materials and pharmaceuticals stored in the hospital needed for use in the Cancer Pavilion.
With respect to size of the building, the basement level of the new Cancer Pavilion will accommodate a significant amount of equipment in connection with oncology diagnosis and treatment. The basement will also accommodate a materials management operation – including receiving, storage and distribution of materials used in the care and treatment of cancer patients. The location of the site will also allow direct connection to a public parking facility that will be built as part of the overall Cancer Pavilion initiative. Finally, a central utility plant will be built as part of the adjacent structured parking facility that will provide most of the electricity required for the Cancer Pavilion as well as the steam and chilled water used for heating and cooling the new facility. Further, this utility plant will provide a sustainable source of electricity that will allow the Cancer Pavilion to essentially be off grid and allow it to be fully operational even when faced with extreme weather conditions that can impact the availability of utilities.
An important aspect of the overall project is the establishment of a coordinated job readiness initiative. There will be an estimated 1,000 construction jobs created as a result of the project and there will be 500 – 600 people permanently employed at the new Cancer Pavilion. With the need for new employees at the facility, the City will be establishing a coordinated initiative between a number of local and regional institutions in order to access appropriate job readiness programs. Institutions would include the New Brunswick High School, New Brunswick P-TECH, New Brunswick Health Sciences High School, Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health & Biomedical Sciences, Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, and Middlesex County College.
NEW SCHOOL LOCATION
With respect to the identification of a site that would be suitable for the needs of the New Brunswick Public School District, we assumed several factors that would be essential to the Board. First, that the site be located within the district that serves Lincoln Annex families. Second, that the site be of sufficient size to accommodate the requirements for a new school with the desired programming. Third, that the cost of acquisition and construction of a new school together with the costs associated with the temporary relocation would not be borne by the School Board or City taxpayers. These factors were taken into account in identifying a potential relocation site for the Lincoln Annex School.
The district that currently serves Lincoln Annex families extends from the current school site to and along Jersey Avenue beyond Sandford Street, terminating at the Mile Run Brook. Parenthetically, it appears from the School Board’s district boundary map that the Lincoln Annex School is located just outside the district.
It is important to note that within that area, the City is looking to undertake two (2) major comprehensive neighborhood redevelopment initiatives along that section of the Jersey Avenue corridor. The first is a multi-block site that is bounded by Hale and Delavan Streets and located between Jersey Avenue and the railroad. On this site, proposed plans call for the development of a 112,500 sq. ft., 5-story office building together with the development of 192 residential units. The second site runs along the same side of Jersey Avenue and is comprised of a 23.7-acre site that extends from Sandford Street to Lake Street. Proposed plans on this site call for 660 residential units, 190,000 sf of office space, 20,000 sf of shared workspace, 5,000 sf of retail space, as well as a community park.
Located directly across Jersey Avenue from this 23+ acre site is 131 Jersey Avenue. This site is 4.7 acres, approximately three times larger than the size of the current Lincoln Annex site. This increased size allows for a building footprint that is at least 10,000 sf larger (46,000 + sf versus 35,182 + sf); a school that is at least 30,000 sf larger (125,000 + sf versus 94,211 sf); a school playground area where none exists today; and over 100 parking spaces, more than doubling the spaces on the existing site. A conceptual layout for this site is accompanying this letter.
Of course, the location, design and layout of any new school facility would be determined by the School Board. Our goal is to provide the opportunity for and assist you in replacing a $21 Million school with a $55 Million investment in a brand new school that will meet the needs of the community for generations to come.
The need to commence development of the Cancer Pavilion later this year is essential to the overall development schedule for the project. As one of only 51 Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, Rutgers will be considered for redesignation again in 2023. Given the level of complexity that will be involved in the design and construction of the new Cancer Pavilion, the center can be completed in 2023 if work can commence later this year. Development of the new facility in time for this redesignation is an important component of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s long-term strategy for cancer care. The NCI designation is granted competitively to institutions characterized by the highest level of scientific excellence in cancer research and the ability to translate scientific discoveries into clinical applications. NCI
Comprehensive Care Centers like Rutgers Cancer Institute also have a responsibility to educate the public and healthcare professionals and to provide outreach to underserved populations. Redesignation by the NCI is an essential component to the ability of the Rutgers Cancer Institute to successfully compete for research funding. According to Rutgers, the nearly 250 Rutgers Cancer Institute faculty members garner more than $100 million annually in federal, state and philanthropic grant support. The development of additional laboratory space and the recruitment of additional researchers will allow the Rutgers Cancer Institute to attract a significant increase in these research dollars.
The need to commence work on the Lincoln Annex site later this year would necessitate the temporary relocation to an alternate school site while design and construction are completed on the new school. It is our understanding that the Board would use the Pathways to Technology Early College High School Campus located at the corner of Jersey and Van Dyke Avenues until the new school is completed. This school facility provided a great learning environment for the students of Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts and Redshaw School when those schools were under construction. Today, the students of these two schools and the community enjoy the benefits of these wonderful new schools. As previously mentioned, we would expect that the costs associated with the temporary relocation to the Pathways site would be covered in addition to the $55 million identified for the costs associated with the new permanent school.
We look forward to working with the School Board and the families of Lincoln Annex on the consideration of this request and the location and design of the new school.
Thank you for your kind consideration in this regard.
Christopher J. Paladino
A printer-friendly version of this letter is available to download.
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