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Princeton University officials break ground on future Lake Campus

Princeton University's official groundbreaking for its Lake Campus on Dec. 7 in West Windsor.

Princeton University’s Lake Campus will feature new athletic fields, housing and sustainable measures as the university moves ahead with construction for its campus in West Windsor.

The university’s administration, Mercer County officials and West Windsor officials were on hand to take part in an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Campus.

The groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 7 featured remarks from Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe.

The Lake Campus will be established on land the university acquired from 1922-48 between Washington and Alexander roads. The Lake Campus will be along Washington Road and Route 1, near the Delaware and Raritan Canal and Lake Carnegie.

According to the university, this is the first major development on the university’s property in West Windsor. Initial development will include athletic facilities, graduate housing, sustainable infrastructure and parking.

The Lake Campus includes about 74 acres for housing for graduates and post-doctoral students. Three buildings will total 330,000 square feet and include 379 units (253 one-bedroom units, 63 two-bedroom units and 63 three-bedroom units).

The three-story buildings will include study rooms, storage rooms, a community room in one building, and a café on the first floor of another building.

As part of the university’s efforts to create a more sustainable campus, the buildings for housing will use district geo-exchange for heating and cooling. Additionally, the café and the community center are planned to have green roofs, and the main buildings are designed to accommodate rooftop solar arrays.

Princeton University administrators expect to have this project at the Lake Campus completed by the fall of 2023.

Along with housing for more than 500 graduate and post-doctoral students, university officials plan to construct athletic facilities such as Racquet Center, a 180,000-square-foot facility that will become the new home for Princeton’s varsity squash and tennis teams.

The center includes nine indoor tennis courts, 12 indoor squash courts, a fitness center, sports medicine facilities and locker rooms. There will also be outdoor tennis courts at the facility.

There are also rugby fields and flexible fields planned at the Lake Campus.

The Lake Campus will feature a 35-acre project area along Washington Road which includes the TIGER CUB (thermally-integrated geo-exchange resource central utility building), which will connect to two thermal energy storage tanks (TES), electrical transformers, and a generator.

Plans also call for a five-story garage with 612 parking spaces, a softball stadium with a synthetic field, and grass recreation fields. The garage will become a five-tier garage as the Lake Campus continues to see growth and have 20 electric vehicle charging stations.

Development at the Lake Campus is expected to occur during the next 20 years, according to the university’s Lake Campus General Development Plan.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Campus follows the university’s construction of East Campus projects, which is still ongoing, as development approvals were granted by the Princeton Planning Board in 2020 and 2021.

Projects in Princeton include a 40,000-square-foot, one-story TIGER energy and athletics operation facility, a new soccer stadium and practice field, and a five-story East Campus garage providing about 1,560 parking spaces near the intersection of Fitzrandolph and Faculty roads.

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