By: Richard L. Smith
Liberty Science Center's Vice President of STEM Teaching Learning and Innovation, Mrs. Ivory Williams, was joined by Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoffman, The Honorable Jersey City Mayor Steve M. Fulop, and a host of other Hudson County officials where the group marked the groundbreaking for The new Liberty Science Center High School (LSCHS) in Jersey City.
The momentous event celebrated the official construction start for LSCHS, slated to open in 2025.
Jersey City Spokeswoman Kimberly Scalcione said this world-class public magnet STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) academy that the Hudson County Schools of Technology will operate, LSCHS, will provide programs in Earth (Sustainable Engineering and Climate) Science, Life (Biological Sciences), and Space (Astrophysics) to 400 students in grades 9 - 12 from across Hudson County.
During the 30-minute ceremony, Spokeswoman Scalcione said each of the speakers addressed the promise and importance of LSCHS to Hudson County and the transformative impact it will have on students aspiring for careers in the STEM fields, on diversifying those fields and on cementing the region's and the state's position as a center of scientific and technological discovery and innovation.
"This is one of the most important projects we're doing in Jersey City," said Mayor Steven Fulop. "It will be transformational to not only Jersey City but the entire region and New Jersey.
We couldn't be more excited to watch this project come to life."
"The school will inspire the next generation about science and engineering and give them the skills they need to go out and succeed in the workplace," said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of the Liberty Science Center.
"It's unique to have a school next to the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere... We want all companies based [in SciTech Scity] to give back to the high school by providing serious work experience and mentorship to students... Aspirationally, we want this to become the greatest STEM high school in the United States."
"This school is going to be epic. It's an epic school for epic children," added Laura Overdeck, LSC Board Member and Benefactor.
"We may need them in the future to keep fighting climate change, to battle diseases we don't know about yet, and to get a lasso around ChatGPT... every time we open a school like this, we're reminded what a 15-year-old can do with engineering and what a 17-year-old can do with a telescope."
"This is a revolutionary idea, and when we talk about what Mayor Fulop said about reimagining education, we can do that here. To do that, we have to make an impact... if we continue to do what we are doing, we will have a great school," said Amy Lin-Rodriguez, Superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology.
In addition to their world-class education, LSCH, students will have access to intensive mentorships and work experiences with the companies and scientists at SciTech Scity, the 30-acre "City of Tomorrow" being developed by LSC that will also include an innovation hub to launch and grow world-changing science and technology start-ups, residential housing for people interested in a community dedicated to using science and technology to build a better future, and public space for outdoor science-related activations.
LSC will also create preparatory programs for middle-school students from under-served communities in Jersey City and Hudson County who are passionate about science and aspire to attend the new high school.
Along with LSCHS and Liberty Science Center, SciTech Scity pillars will include the following:
Edge Works: The eight-story business incubation hub of SciTech Scity consisting of the Co-Creation Center, a 40,000-SF state-of-the-art conference center and bleeding-edge tech exhibition gallery, and The Works, 60,000 SF of research and development labs, workspaces, and co-working areas for dozens of start-ups plus skunkworks suites, product showcases, consumer testing labs, and offices for select well-established companies.
Scholars Village: Residential housing being developed by Alpine Residential for innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, STEM graduate students, and individuals and families who desire to be a part of the SciTech Scity community. These residents can test essential new high-tech products in their homes before the rest of the world.
Public Commons: Four acres of outdoor activations that encourage exploration, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. An events plaza comparable in size to the skating rink and outdoor area at Rockefeller Center for performances, concerts, maker fairs, farmers' markets, massive participatory science experiments, hackathons, art projects, and food-truck festivals.