GLASSBORO — Rowan University opened a new road testing and research facility at the South Jersey Technology Park on Wednesday — only the second building at the park since it opened and one where students will get experience in helping improve the transportation industry.
On Wednesday, administrators, officials, and students gathered at the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University’s West Campus off Route 322 for a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening CREATEs — the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering systems.
The facility — a 50 foot by 90 foot structure — will be funded by a $5 million grant from New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Defense/Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Transportation.
“Rowan has changed so much over the years and it’s an honor to be apart of this new project,” said Jared Oren, chief of engineering resources for the Army Corps of Engineers. “Things lined up and we were able to make this project work.”
CREATEs sits in the shadow of the Samuel H. Jones Innovation Center, which was the first and has been the only building at the 188-acre Tech Park since it debuted in 2008.
According to President Ali Houshmand, it won’t be the last new building to open. When the Tech Park first opened, the master plans called for 25 buildings and 1.5 million square feet of space for both start-ups and established companies who could work with Rowan University students and faculty in a public-private partnership.
“We want buildings of students working on cutting-edge electronics, medical patient care, construction,” he said. “That’s been the vision of the Technology Park from the start, to get our students working on new things to help better day-to-day life and industries throughout the world.”
“Ribbon cuttings and completion of projects are becoming a day to day thing here at Rowan,” he added. “But you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Teams working in CREATEs will conduct research on transportation projects for government, manufacturers, and contractors with students of the Henry Rowan College of Engineering participating. These projects will help enhance roadways by assessing existing materials and create new materials to allow for safer travel.
“Our research is real-world based and very practical,” said Houshmand. “We want our students to walk away from their time at Rowan with four years of practical experience so they can become real world engineers.”
The CREATEs facility includes the Rowan University Construction Materials Laboratory which will allow teams to conduct materials testing including pavements and soils. It will also be the home of the new Rowan University Accelerated Pavement Testing Facility which will house the Mark IV Heavy Vehicle Simulator (HVS).
“The HVS is capable of creating 10 years of traffic in just about six months,” said Oren. “This will allow for researchers to assess roads and materials used and evaluate the potential of other materials.”
The 50-ton device can move at up to 2.5 mph with an electric-powered wheel that mimics traffic. It also contains equipment that can raise and lower the temperature of the road surface to simulate summer and winter conditions of New Jersey.
“Like I said, every research project we do here is practical,” said Houshmand. “There are real-life consequences and real-life problems at stake. We want our students to be a part of the solution. This new HVS device is giving students that opportunity to research and solve problems all while partnering with other groups and getting the Rowan name out there.”
As for the future of the Tech Park, Houshmand said there are many projects in store.
“We have various entities looking to work with us on upcoming projects,” said Houshmand. “I look forward to seeing Rowan grow further allowing students to take on bigger and better things. Rowan hasn’t seen anything yet.”
- Date Published: September 15, 2016 – 11:26AM EDT
- Author: Caitlyn Stulpin
- Publisher: NJ.com
- Source: Rowan University opens 2nd facility at South Jersey Tech Park