NYSEG grants aid campus projects
By Katie Ellis
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger accepted a check totaling $800,000 from Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E, on Feb. 26 in the lobby of the Engineering and Science Building at the Innovative Technologies Complex. The funding – two $400,000 grants from NYSEG's Utility Infrastructure Investment Program – is for two on-campus projects: the $30-million Center of Excellence building nearing completion on the ITC campus, and the recently completed $33.6-million Science 5 building on the main campus.
(Pictured above: William Hall, architectural supervisor at Physical Facilities, gives a tour of the nearly completed Center of Excellence building at the Innovative Technologies Complex to President Harvey Stenger and NYSEG President/CEO Mark S. Lynch after NYSEG presented two checks of $400,000 from its Utility Infrastructure Investment Program.)
The grant program provides existing or prospective heavy use customers up to $400,000 per project for new utility infrastructure. To be eligible, the projects must also demonstrate a minimum $1-million investment in a new or expanding facility.
The NYSEG grant program was unavailable to universities prior to 2011, but Binghamton University filed a petition with the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) requesting a modification to NYSEG's existing economic development programs. With active support from NYSEG and New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell), the PSC approved the modification in November 2011.
Binghamton received the maximum amount for each project.
"I want to thank NYSEG for being an outstanding community partner. They are a great supplier and have kept us all warm through this very difficult winter," said Stenger, joking that he paid his NYSEG bill this week.
"I also want to thank Donna Lupardo for helping to make this possible," said Stenger. "This grant program was designed for businesses and industry that are expanding and growing, and it's something universities should be part of.
"We take on these large projects because we want our campus to become bigger and better, but they are costly. Every bit of support we receive from entities like NYSEG goes a long way in helping us make these construction projects affordable to build in the short term and more energy efficient in the long run," he added.
Lynch, who said he would be remiss if he didn't mention NYSEG's rich history of once having its headquarters located on the Innovative Technologies site, said it is "great to be here and really see the transformation and growth at Binghamton University and get a better understanding of what is accomplished here.
"For many years, NYSEG has helped businesses grow with its comprehensive economic development program, and that forms a foundation for us," Lynch said. "As President Stenger mentioned, in 2011, we worked with the University and Assemblywoman Lupardo to make this funding available to certain colleges and universities. Binghamton University is unquestionably one of the largest economic drivers here and we're pleased to assist."
NYSEG offers these incentives to entities in upstate New York to help make the region an attractive place to do business and Stenger said assistance such as this is vital to help Binghamton University complete major construction projects, keep costs down and improve energy efficiency measures on campus.
Bahgat Sammakia, vice president of research, spoke of the benefits the grants bring to the University's research endeavors.
"It's a truly fantastic time to be involved with research at Binghamton University," he said. "The Center of Excellence will help us bring together scientists, scholars and researchers from across campus, and Science 5 is where we conduct neuroscience research. This is happening at a perfect time to help Binghamton grow our research, and with this assistance we will optimize performance while reducing energy use at the same time."
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