The newly constructed, Future Foundations Academy (FFA) celebrated its ribbon cutting on November 1, 2019. This project was initiated and managed by the Business Administrator and Board Secretary of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ), Patrick M. Moran. The facility promises to offer specialized solutions and a community-based environment for students with Autism.
Uniquely designed, USA Architects, Planners + Interior Designers, Ltd. joined the ESCNJ to create a 55,000 square foot space that thoroughly supports FFA’s school mission in providing students with high quality job skills and promoting independent living for graduates. As such, it has become a flagship school for future ESCNJ facilities in the State and is the fifth school that USA Architects has worked on with the district. A major contributing factor to the success of the project was due to Mr. Moran’s involvement during design and construction. He maintained the vision of the ESCNJ and created a human connection to the project by engaging with all staff members at FFA and fostering a deep connection between the staff, USA Architects, and the ESCNJ.
The ribbon cutting event was well attended by the community, including Senator Bob Smith and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. During the celebration, Superintendent, Mark Finkelstein added that Tara Dohoney, USA Architects’ Director of Construction Administration was “all business” and “she really made it happen for us...”
The thoughtfully crafted space includes a wide variety of amenities with features such as: 12 classrooms, a dedicated area for Horticultural, Community-based Instruction, Family Living programs, a Makerspace, and Fitness Center. “Lucy’s Café;” a culinary lab that teaches food prep and food service skills is a notable feature. Students have the opportunity to work at local restaurants preparing tables and folding napkins, as well. In addition, FFA fully embraces an 8,000 square foot professional-grade conference center that seats up to 300 people. Not only will the center accommodate future growth, it offers the opportunity for the ESCNJ to instill deeper partnerships with local colleges and universities, particularly regarding professional development events and will serve as a meeting center for Education Institutions across Middlesex County.
ESCNJ is an incredibly robust organization that employs 1,800 people per year and educates 1,000 students with learning differences. The organization is supported by 31 board members and serves all 21 counties within New Jersey.