East Stroudsburg University, recognized as a “best practice” model in community and economic development by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), has moved forward with two exciting projects.
The ESU affiliated Center for Research and Economic Development, or CFRED, plans to construct a 51,000-square foot Computer Security Center and office building in the new ESU Research and Technology Park. Concurrently, the university has opened the doors to its state-of-the-art Science and Technology Center. These two building projects illustrate ESU’s role as an essential component of Monroe County’s economic development engine.
The new Science and Technology Center enhances ESU’s reputation as a university that prepares its students for competitive careers in a global economy. The 124,000 square foot building, built at a cost of approximately $40 million, is expected to house chemistry, math, computer science, and other various science departments. The building includes research and classroom space, a planetarium; a multi-use, 200 seat auditorium; and a heated celestial observation room (observatory), as well as offices for the relocated departments. Students will be learning in a state-of-the art environment with immediate access to cutting edge technology. The building will accommodate diverse university academic departments ranging from mathematics to computer science, chemistry, biology, biotechnology and physics.
CFRED’s planned Computer Security Center is being developed as Phase I of the ESU Research and Technology Park, located on a 4.4 of the 11 acres of university-owned land adjacent to Rte 447 in Smithfield Township. The park’s focus will be to attract companies and educational opportunities in the areas of homeland security, financial services, biotechnology/life sciences, information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
The building will be home to the ESUBusiness Accelerator, ESU Division of Research and Economic Development, and the ESU Cyber Crime and Forensic Institute. A combination of public and private interests and research and development facilities are expected as part of the park’s additional build out. Preliminary projections for the park call for 256 new jobs, average wages of $47,857, and an over-all estimated economic impact of $54.4 million.
PMEDC was one of a number of organizations that helped CFRED secure significant funding for the project. PMEDC Executive Director Chuck Leonard says the completed building will play a key role in furthering the Wall Street West initiative.
This project will provide the kind of business spaces necessary for our area to be a true beneficiary of Wall Street West. If we want to continue diversifying Monroe County’s economy, we need to build the workforce that will attract financial services and related industries to the community. CFRED’s efforts to assist entrepreneurs in establishing early stage enterprises will move us closer to that goal.
The two projects position East Stroudsburg University, currently Monroe County’s ninth largest employer, as a major center for innovation, and science and technology in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Timothy D. Toolan of East Stroudsburg University contributed to this article.