Contact: Tony Bianchini. 609-414-2219
S. Patricia Cabrera, 609-462-2089


June 5, 2019 – TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) is pleased to announce that it has received the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for the new Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 (formerly known as the Leonard Place School) in Passaic.

On July 1, 2019, Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 will open its doors to Passaic students for the district’s summer academic and enrichment programs. The new classrooms will provide the perfect spaces to support students' extended learning, aligned to the district mission to prepare students for college and high-paying jobs.

The new 105,000 square-foot, three-story school was designed and constructed to educate approximately 700 students in Kindergarten to 5th grade. It has been outfitted and furnished to support the District’s initial need for Kindergarten to 8th grade. The new school includes 30 general classrooms, five small group instruction classrooms, two science classrooms, instrumental and vocal music rooms, an art room, a multipurpose room with stage, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and a media center.

"We are thrilled to receive the temporary certificate of occupancy for this new state-of-the-art school in Passaic," said Manuel Da Silva, SDA Interim Chief Executive Officer. "The completion of this new school continues our commitment to reducing overcrowding in Passaic schools and improving the quality of life and quality of education for City students. Our work in Passaic is not done as we are also in the process of constructing the new Dayton Avenue Educational Campus in the City."

"Educational opportunities for the children of Passaic City are critical to their future success, and an improved learning environment offers substantial benefits," said Passaic City Mayor Hector Lora. "We are thrilled that the Schools Development Authority will be expanding the facilities for our district's school children, helping the city offer its residents the best opportunities to learn and grow."

The new Sonia Sotomayor School was constructed on the Leonard Place site, which is across the street from the SDA-built Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy. The Authority opened this school to students in 2015. In February 2019, the SDA also broke ground on the new, $240.9 million Dayton Avenue Educational Campus project, an approximately 448,000 square feet, 4-story educational campus that will include four school facilities located in a unified structure, with shared central facilities. Dayton Avenue Educational Campus is scheduled to open to students in September 2022. To date, the SDA has invested approximately $490 million toward active and completed capital and emergent projects in Passaic City.

"We are extremely grateful for the work of the Schools Development Authority for their construction of the new Sonia Sotomayor School and many of the other projects that the Authority has developed and constructed in our District over the years," said Pablo Muñoz, Superintendent of the Passaic School District. "This new school will provide our students with state-of-the-art facilities, the latest technologies, and will help to provide them with an amazing learning environment to ensure that they receive a thorough and equitable education."

Dobco, Inc. worked in conjunction with Di Cara/Rubino Architects on the design build project. Epic Management, Inc. was the project's construction manager.

About the New Jersey Schools Development Authority

The SDA is the State agency responsible for fully funding and managing the new construction, modernization and renovation of school facilities projects in 31 SDA Districts. Its current portfolio of active projects is valued at approximately $2 billion – including the Capital Project portfolio, emergent projects and Regular Operating District grants. Since the program's inception, the SDA has provided funding for and management oversight of more than 850 completed school facilities projects in SDA Districts and has executed more than 5,400 grants for Regular Operating Districts throughout the State of New Jersey. For more information about the SDA, please visit our website at: or follow us on social media at: Facebook; Instagram; LinkedIn; or Twitter.