Rowan University officials broke ground Wednesday for an expansion to its engineering building on the Glassboro campus.

The new $71 million building will be a three-story, 90,500-square-foot addition. The cost is being funded through the Building Our Future bond act approved by voters last year, other state funds and matching funds required from the college.

Rowan was allocated $117 million of the $750 million bond funds, and it also plans a new building for its Rohrer College of Business.

Construction is expected to be completed during academic year 2016-17 and will allow the college to double enrollment of engineering students to about 2,000.

As the state’s third public research institution, Rowan is increasing its focus on research that addresses real-world problems and the commercialization of marketable products. College officials said the College of Engineering will promote research through existing majors and a planned bioengineering program. That research is expected to also lead to the development of new businesses in the region.

“The State made a tremendous investment in Rowan University, and that investment will pay off,” said Ali Houshmand, president of Rowan, in a statement on the groundbreaking. “Each year, we turn away hundreds of qualified engineering students simply because we do not have room for them. These are students with excellent GPAs and outstanding SAT scores who enroll in other colleges and universities. These are students who have the potential to be future leaders in their fields, researchers, academics and entrepreneurs.

“This new College of Engineering building will provide increased opportunities for New Jersey residents to stay in our State to receive their college education in high-demand fields,” the statement said.

The project, coupled with the new business building, is expected to create more than 550 construction jobs, generate more than $180 million in economic activity and create more than 100 permanent jobs in Glassboro, according to data provided by the college.

The Rowan College of Engineering was founded in part from the 1992 $100 million contribution made by industrialist Henry Rowan and his late wife, Betty. Rowan Engineering graduated its first class in 2000. Today, almost 930 students are enrolled in its graduate program and undergraduate programs in chemical, civil and environment, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering.

Contact Diane D'Amico:

609-272-7241

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.