Rowan tech park hits a mark in steel

Rowan tech park hits a mark in steel

Frigid winds whipped through muddy fields here Thursday as workers placed the final beam of the first building marking Rowan University's westward expansion.

The two-story steel structure, which can be seen from Routes 322 and 55, will be the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center the first building at the South Jersey Technology Park.

"This is an important mark for the future of this region," Rowan University President Donald Farish said. "This will bring a level of technology and business enterprise that is just not here."

Dozens of people with a vested interest and passion for the future of the park gathered at the 188-acre site to watch as the final beam was installed.

The university broke ground for the building in April and expect to have it open in September.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will feature office space, laboratories and incubator and conference space.

Rowan College of Engineering will locate its research labs on the first floor and the building will also house the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

"To see it all finally get moving from plans and dreams to a reality is a wonderful thing," Farish said.

Space will be available for the university's students, private technology-based firms and Rowan-sponsored research.

Farish said he expects the faculty to use the first floor when the building opens in the fall.

"We don't know what companies will come in but we certainly know there will be new jobs," Farish said.

Engineering, computer science and hard science students can work with companies to help develop innovative products. Business and marketing students will help develop ways to advertise and market the new products, Farish said.

University officials expect 1.5 million square feet of space to be available once the park is completely developed. Build-to-suit opportunities are available for firms seeking lab or office space of up to 100,000 square feet.

Samuel Jones, a former Woodstown businessman who donated $1 million toward the development of the first building, said the facility will draw business to the area and spark economic growth. The building is named in his honor.

"I think it will bring more technology to the area," Jones said. "We need that draw. This will be the first magnet to pull it in."

Information about the park is available online at

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Date Published: Friday, January 26, 2007 (All day)