NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The Rutgers University Board of Governors has awarded a construction contract to build a 79,711 square-foot facility dedicated to fighting childhood obesity and associated adult diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health has existed in temporary quarters on the Cook Campus since 2010. Construction will begin this year and be completed in 2015, according to Peter Gillies, the institute’s founding director.
The idea behind the institute is to create and physical space where research, teaching and outreach to the community can take place.
“We want to bring together scholars who will pursue interdisciplinary research; policymakers who will apply that research to real-world problems associated with food and health; and parents, their children, as well as Rutgers students whose lives can benefit from wellness programs, health education and activities,” said Robert M. Goodman, executive dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, of which the institute is a part.
The Board of Governors has awarded the contract to the Joseph A. Natoli Construction Co. of Pine Brook, N.J. The company has worked on several Rutgers projects in the past.
The new building is also located the Cook Campus in New Brunswick, just off Dudley Road, between the Food Science and Foran Hall. It will be three stories high and include 37,198 square feet of research space, 28,263 square feet of community space and 825 square feet of administrative space. The remaining 13,425 square feet will be taken up with mechanical and circulation space.
The new interdisciplinary laboratory space includes a healthy eating courtyard to study human eating behavior and nutrition education, facilities to study food digestion and nutrient metabolism and a human performance lab that focuses on nutrition and exercise. There are also molecular nutrition laboratories, a student health clinic and a learning center for preschool age children as part of the research center for childhood education and nutrition research.
The institute brings together faculty members from complementary programs throughout the university, including Rutgers' departments of food science, nutrition, public policy, pharmacy, exercise science and sport studies, genetics, agriculture and health sciences research.
“Everyone associated with the institute is looking forward to being in this new space, which is innovative in its design and perfectly suited to the kind of leading-edge research, teaching and service we expect to produce there,” Gillies said.