On Oct 25, 2021
Jersey City-based Liberty Science Center (LSC) broke ground this past Friday on the $300-million first phase of SciTech Scity, its 30-acre “City of Tomorrow” innovation campus that aims to launch and grow science and technology companies and reimagine public school science education. In addition to the groundbreaking, it was announced that Sheba Medical Center will become the first Innovation Partner at the location.
Sheba is the largest hospital system in Israel. It will display cutting-edge technologies in healthcare from Israel within the eight-story Edge Works business optimizer at SciTech City. It will take up an entire floor and its space will be known as Liberty ARC HealthSpace 2030 (LAH).
According to Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief medical officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba Medical Center, “We wanted to bring all the technologies into one space to see how they work in the healthcare environment and with the entirety of the medical team. This space will allow companies to come in and help us design the future.”
ARC stands for Accelerate Redesign Collaborate, and Dr. Zimlichman emphasized that feedback on all the technologies being piloted currently at Sheba and in the new SciTech Scity space will be shared with partner hospitals throughout North America and Europe.
Dr. Zimlichman indicated that LAH will collaborate closely and be synergistic with Sheba ARC’s planned innovation center in Chicago that will host many startups coming out of Israel and these ARC Chicago technologies will be showcased in New Jersey as well.
LSC President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoffman said that SciTech Scity and LSC will assist Sheba in testing and introducing digital health and home health products in underserved communities in Jersey City and beyond. It is anticipated that new technologies, products, and companies emerging from the Liberty ARC HealthSpace2030 will create jobs in Jersey City.
Phase I of SciTech Scity is scheduled to open in late 2023 and 2024. It 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.
- Liberty Science Center High School: A world-class public magnet STEM academy that will be operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology and 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. LSC will arrange for the students to have intensive mentorships and work experiences with the companies and scientists at Edge Works and at LSC itself. 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.
- 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.
Subsequent phases of SciTech Scity may include expanded incubation spaces, wet labs, additional schools, a satellite campus of a major university, or other facilities to drive STEM innovation and job creation.
The existing LSC and the new SciTech Scity construction will span 30 acres and be called the Frank J. Guarini Innovation Campus, named for the former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New Jersey State Senator, real estate developer and philanthropist from Jersey City who made a $10 million gift to LSC toward the creation of Edge Works. That gift, the largest received to date by the Center, was matched 50 cents on the dollar by a $5 million pledge from LSC Board Co-Chair David Barry.
Four companies so far—EY, Verizon, Bank of America and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey—have signed on as Corporate Founding Sponsors and made seven-figure contributions. All in all, $42 million has been raised for Edge Works, with the remaining funding expected to come from financing and government sources.
An additional $5 million in private donations was raised to jumpstart the creation of Liberty Science Center High School, with Laura and John Overdeck providing a lead gift which was subsequently matched by contributions from the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Joe and Millie Williams, PSEG, Norm Worthington, and others. Hudson County has pledged to float bonds to finance the school’s construction, and both Jersey City and Hudson County have pledged to provide operational support for LSC High School for 30 years.
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