NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The Global Village Learning Center at Rutgers’ Jameson Dormitory Complex is nearing completion as it approaches its fall 2016 expected opening.

Located at 35 Nichol Avenue, this two-story, 20,000 square foot building will serve the dual role of providing expanded classroom space and accommodating 37 students in dormitories.

Additionally, the Global Village will encompass a number of “houses,” in which students can mutually focus on topics such as French, Africana Studies, Public Health, and Human Rights.

Prior to construction the area had been a mostly empty lawn surrounded on all sides by the Jameson complex.

The $11.5 million project is financially supported by $4.6 million in donations from members of the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College with the remainder coming from the university budget.

On September 15, Rutgers President Robert Barchi, Rutgers New Brunswick Chancellor Richard Edwards, and Dean of Douglass College Jacquelyn Litt spoke at a groudbreaking ceremony for the project.

On March 8, Frank Wong from Rutgers’ Department of Planning and Development made a presentation to the New Brunswick Planning Board regarding the project.

All major Rutgers developments in New Brunswick are required to be reviewed by the city Planning Board, in what is called a “Master Plan Consistency review,” where the board evaluates whether the project is consistent with the city’s Master Plan.

But, if it doesn’t find the project to be consistent, the board can only make recommendations as to how Rutgers might improve the plan. This particular project was nearly six month underway at the time of the board meeting.

Wong told the board that the new Global Village Learning Center will provide space to an underserved program, will not be easily visible from the street, and will enhance an area in need of expansion and modernization.

When asked about the delay between inception and review, Wong responded by saying that, “Moving forward we’ll make an effort to bring in projects a little earlier in the process.”

Further comments centered on how increased student housing would help retain students within the boundaries of campus and prevent housing prices in adjacent neighborhoods from increasing.

Such increases are a major issue for New Brunswick’s housing market, because students who are often financially subsidized by their parents and comfortable with sub-par living conditions have greater purchasing power than many New Brunswick residents.

Rutgers’ physical master plan calls for development in this area in order to centralize the campus around the Douglass campus center, create more living space for students, and to define the perimeter of campus along Nichol Avenue.

The board’s lawyer, Benjamin Bucca, who also serves as the Head Coach of the Rutgers Women’s Tennis team, was absent from a meeting for the first time in recent memory.

When New Brunswick Today asked about his absence, and the potential conflict of interest between serving the Board and the University, the board justified his absence by stating: “This is a Consistency Review and an attorney was not needed for the application.”

Bucca has since been nominated for a Superior Court judgeship by Governor Chris Christie, as we reported.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the project, which is still under construction and still expected to be ready for use in September for the start of Rutgers’ fall semester.