Pictured from left are Joyce Watterman, Angela McKnight, Craig Guy, Laura Overdeck, Paul Hoffman, Steven Fulop, Amy Lin-Rodriguez, Denise Ridley, Norman Guerra, Raj Mukherji, Frank Gilmore, Calvin Ledford Jr. (Photo credit: Liberty Science Center)
On May 1, 2023, there was a Groundbreaking ceremony to officially start the construction of Liberty Science High School (LSCHS) in Jersey City.
Wielding special commemorative shovels, elected, civic, and educational leaders dug into boxes of ceremonial soil, marking the groundbreaking for LSCHS. Dignitaries included Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop; Liberty Science Center President and CEO Paul Hoffman; LSC Board Member and Benefactor Laura Overdeck; Amy Lin-Rodriguez and Craig Guy, respectively the Superintendent and former President of the Hudson County Schools of Technology; and Ivory Williams, LSC Vice President for STEM Teaching, Learning & Innovation.
The momentous event celebrated the official start of construction for LSCHS, which is slated to open in 2025. A world-class public magnet STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) academy that will be operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology, 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, 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 that we’re doing in Jersey City,” said Steven M. Fulop. “It will be transformational to not only Jersey City, but the entire region and New Jersey as a whole. We couldn’t be more excited to watch this project come to life.”
“The school will get the next generation inspired and excited 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 Liberty Science Center. “It’s unique to have a school next to the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere…We want all companies that are 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 project is but another example of our [Hudson County’s] commitment to education,” said Craig Guy.
“This school is going to be epic. It’s an epic school for epic children,” Laura Overdeck. “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’re able to do that here. In order 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.
In addition to their world-class education, LSCH, students will have access to have 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:
- 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 will have the opportunity to test important 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, huge participatory science experiments, hackathons, art projects, and food-truck festivals.
About Liberty Science Center
Liberty Science Center (LSC.org) is a 300,000-square-foot, not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty.
Dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to learners of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs.
Before COVID-19, more than 250,000 students visited the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participated in the Center’s off-site and online programs.
Welcoming more than 750,000 visitors annually, LSC is the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area.