In its annual report for 1903, the Board reported that, although the New Jersey State Normal School at Trenton was filled with students, the supply of trained teachers was quite inadequate to the increasing demand and recommended that a normal school be established in the northern part of the State. In 1904 the Legislature appropriated $25,000 for the purchase of a site.
After inspecting many locations, the Board finally purchased a plot of twenty-five acres in the northern part of Montclair, Essex County. A more beautiful or healthful site could not have been chosen. The grounds have an elevation of four hundred feet above sea level and command an uninterrupted view of a landscape of remarkable beauty. The Orange range stretches away to the right, while at the front and left the Passaic valley, the Hudson, and the taller buildings of New York City are plainly visible.
An appropriation of $275,000 was made by the Legislature of 1906 for the erection and equipment of a building. The mission style was adopted and a normal school building, 334 feet long and 133 feet deep, of brick covered with white stucco, was erected on the highest part of the grounds, fronting the New York landscape. The equipment is of the latest and best. The ample grounds afford opportunities for school gardens, tennis courts, and all the outdoor activities of a large normal school.
The building was dedicated September 28th, 1908, by Governor John Franklin Fort and the State Board of Education. The school had been previously organized on September 15th, with 187 students. Another class was received in February, 1909, to the number of 31, making the total registration in the first year 218. No advanced classes were opened the first year and no students received from any other normal school.
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