One of New Jersey’s thriving educational institutions is in the midst of an unprecedented expansion. Rowan University, once a teachers’ college, now a research university, is building aggressively to meet the demands of higher education for tomorrow. The university’s growth plan, backed by the state and numerous large donors, encompasses every major field of study including engineering, science, math, the arts, education and as of 2016 a world-class medical school. This expansion has required the university to add residences for students along with associated businesses such as retail, restaurants and additional high-end housing for the rapidly changing area in and around Glassboro, New Jersey.
The challenge Rowan faces is time: how to work fast enough to meet these residential needs and incorporate the newly-constructed buildings into the institution’s plan for expansion. The present-day surplus of young applicants for acceptance can only be turned into matriculated students if Rowan has a place for them to live. Since constructing a new building normally takes 24 to 36 months, that becomes a problem when you’re simply trying to keep up with the flood of new students you’re enrolling.
So Rowan and the state of New Jersey undertook a joint public-private initiative to accelerate development of the required facilities. The plan in turn attracted a private developer who decided to deploy one of the most cutting-edge construction strategies – one that could potentially reduce the total timeframe to build the required massive structures to a mere 12 months.
The accelerated construction plan was all made possible by using prefabrication for the exterior building walls, employing panels manufactured and installed by Sto Panel Technology. Finished exteriors that would otherwise take about 9 to 10 months to complete using traditional methods were suddenly being completed in 9 to 10 weeks.
Enclosing a building this quickly meant that the interior work required for completion could be done during the winter months. With one facility that opened in 2015, one in 2016, two scheduled for 2017 and three in 2018, Sto Panel is now playing a major role in demonstrating how owners can accelerate their times-to-completion and realize their investment that much more quickly than ever before.
What it now means for Rowan is that the university’s newly-matriculating students now have a brand new place to live.