The New Brunswick (New Jersey) district has opened a $55 million K-8 school paid for by a local hospital as part of a land swap.
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that the 127,000-square-foot Blanquita B. Valenti Community School will serve about 800 students. It was constructed about a half-mile from the school it is replacing, Lincoln Annex.
Rutgers University and RWJBarnabas Health wanted the Lincoln Annex site so they could build what is billed as the first hospital in New Jersey exclusively dedicated to cancer care. Lincoln Annex was identified as the best site for the cancer center because the new facility needed to be adjacent to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, officials said.
As part of the deal to acquire the land, hospital officials agreed to build a replacement school for the New Brunswick district.
The Valenti School is designed to resemble a high school or college that focuses on STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math. Lincoln Annex served grades four through eight; the new campus has been expanded to kindergarten through eighth grade.
The building contains a science classroom with a hydroponics lab, where plants can be grown without soil, as well as biology and chemistry labs. A pottery kiln sits in the art room, along with light wooden tables with hand cranks, allowing for adjustable heights.
Sandwiched between three exterior walls of the school is a large outdoor area, where a running track will be added. A smaller playground is also tucked around the corner for the younger grades. Lincoln Annex had no playgrounds.
While the school was being built, Lincoln Annex students attended school at a 100,000-square-foot converted warehouse.
The $750 million, 12-story cancer hospital is set to open next year, according to its website.
The architect for the Valenti school is DMR Architects.