A week after Richard K. Rein’s October 10 cover story on what could be done to improve the civic realm in Trenton, a reader suggested that Princeton University divert some of its significant resources to assist the capital city. “In the middle of Trenton’s worst areas, there sits an unused and crumbling campus — the former Mercer Hospital. What a grand gesture it would be for Princeton to turn this campus into a high school of science and technology open to the beleaguered youth of Trenton. The Architecture School could retrofit the campus, the university administration could create a staff supplemented by Princeton faculty, staff, and students, I dare to say even Rider and the College of New Jersey would be most helpful,” wrote Frederic Olessi.
We responded: “Princeton University was one of the major initial donors to the Greater Trenton organization. But more could be done. In the late 1960s, for example, Princeton architecture students manned a ‘People’s Workshop’ in New Brunswick to facilitate building projects in the inner city.”
As we have just discovered the “people’s workshop” concept for Trenton is close to reality. Just last week we received a press release from the university announcing the launch of an “ArcPrep” program at Trenton Central High School. It is already underway this fall.