District to Save Over $2 Million by Modernizing Central Office & Bringing State of the Art Science Laboratory to Downtown Newark
[NEWARK, NJ – January 24, 2018] Today, the Newark Public Schools officially cut the ribbon on the district’s new headquarters in downtown Newark, marking the completion of another major milestone as the district prepares for the return to local control. By moving the district’s headquarters into a more modern and efficient space, the district will save more than $2 million annually. The new space will also bring a state of the art science laboratory to downtown Newark to the benefit of all Newark Public School students.
“Today’s event marks another milestone for the Newark Public Schools on the way to local control,” said Superintendent Cerf. “Moving into this new building isn’t just about a new space. It is a testament to the political will of our school board members who voted to move after 25 years in the prior building and the expertise of our facilities and operations staff that made this happen in less than a year. This move will save the district more than $2 million each year, and will provide a more vibrant, open and modern office space that will help district leaders better support our schools and recruit better talent to the central office leadership for years to come.”
The new headquarters building is located at 765 Broad Street. The 97,000 square foot building will house more than 300 NPS employees and save the district over $2 million annually by both decreasing the rent the district pays and cutting down on maintenance and operational expenses. Over the past six months all four floors have been built out from scratch to meet specifications provided by the Newark Public Schools. The building provides NPS with an opportunity to modernize and upgrade the district’s data center, increasing capacity and creating redundancies that protect the district during emergencies. The space also places an emphasis on employee collaboration, providing a more open, efficient and modern layout while decreasing square footage from the prior space.
In addition to the corporate offices, the building at 765 Broad Street will house the NPS Family Support Center (FSC), which has officially moved from a separate location at 301 W. Kinney Street and is located just inside the main entrance on the first floor of the building. This family focused resource center is an important part of engaging families in the education of their children and helping families to enroll in school.
“We are excited to welcome Newark Public Schools a few blocks farther south down Broad Street into their new home,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Most importantly, this move will provide the district with more money to put back into schools and classrooms, and will position the district to serve more Newarkers coming to them for support. We think this is a great step forward.”
The opening of the new central office comes as the district prepares to officially transition to local control on February 1st with the school board regaining full authority and Deputy Superintendent Robert Gregory preparing to take on the role of interim Superintendent. As this transition commences, data shows that Newark students are making significant progress. Newark students now outperform their peers in the majority of similar districts in New Jersey in both reading and math and outperform most entire states that take the PARCC exam. When looking just at students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, Newark students outperform all other large school districts in the US that take the PARCC exam. Newark’s high school graduation rate has also increased by nearly 20 percentage points in the past seven years (from the high 50s in 2010 to 78 percent in 2017).
“The thing that makes this move so important for our district is the decision to make this a central office space for everyone,” added incoming Interim Superintendent Robert Gregory. “By having a space where students can learn, parents and families can come and engage with staff members, and central office staff can improve how they collaborate and grow, we are starting with a foundation that we can build on to continue to do what is most important – supporting student learning in our schools and classrooms.”
The building also will house a state of the art science center that will open later this spring and be run in partnership with the non-profit organization Students 2 Science (S2S). The S2S Newark Technology Center will be an important resource for NPS’s science education programs, enabling students to work side-by-side with STEM professionals and corporate mentors in the heart of Newark.
“This new central office provides us with a great jumping off point as we prepare for our new responsibilities under local control” noted School Board President Marques Aquil Lewis. “The board and district worked together to find a central office space last year that was fiscally responsible and put us in a position to operate more effectively while giving more money to educators, students and classrooms. This is a great example for all of us as we move Newark schools forward: we must commit to doing the right things operationally in order to make sure we are doing what is best for Newark children.”