Rowan seeks $5M to build tech center

Rowan seeks $5M to build tech center

By Denise Jewell, Glou.Co. Times reporter

Rowan University officials are hoping get $5 million from the Delaware River and Bay Authority to help fund the university's plan to build a technology park in South Jersey.

The DRBA's economic development committee has received a formal request from the school to fund $5 million toward constructing a building for the South Jersey Technology Park, a research center that officials hope will attract tech companies to the area.

Jim Salmon, a spokesman for the DRBA, said several committees will consider the request and will probably ask for more detailed information about the school's project.

"What the commission wants to do is make a very well-informed decision based on the merits of the project," Salmon said. "This is the first step and it doesn't happen overnight. It may take some time."

Philip Tumminia, the executive vice president for university advancement at Rowan, said the school has been reaching out to potential supporters to fund the technology park, which is estimated to cost as much as $15 million.

"It's an ongoing process, but we're very encouraged that their initial reaction was positive," Tumminia said about the DRBA. "We have a shared goal. Part of their responsibility is to foster economic development."

In addition to funding local transportation projects, Salmon said, the DRBA uses its resources to promote economic development in the area. He said the authority has funded Rowan projects in the past, including the university's engineering school.

Salmon said if the DRBA approves the money, it would require that it is repaid within a certain amount of time through leases or other investments. For example, he said that the authority helped fund the Salem Business Centre in Carneys Point and in return it owns the land and is paid back through the building's leases.

If Rowan University receives the money, it would be added to $6 million that the state Economic Development Authority has promised to the school for the technology park.

Tumminia said school officials are in the process of signing an agreement with the state for the grant.

Rowan's Foundation --which manages money that is donated to the school --has also given the school $1 million for the project and county officials have committed to helping develop the infrastructure for the park, Tumminia said.

"We have to get a building up in order to start these partnerships" Tumminia said of the companies the school would like to encourage to utilize the technology park.

The park is slated to be built on land near Route 55 and 322 in Mantua Township, near the school's campus in Glassboro.

Additional Details:

Date Published: Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 09:25