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University centers to aid in state economic revitalization

By : By Sarah Lifshin

Governor George E. Pataki speaks on what the upcoming year will mean for New York state during his annual State of the State address last week in Albany. Pataki pledged support for the creation of a new academic center in downtown Binghamton and a high te
Governor George E. Pataki in his State of the State address last week pledged support for the creation of a new academic center in downtown Binghamton and a high technology commercialization center at Binghamton University.

“Governor Pataki’s announcement of support for both of these centers is great news for the University and the community,” said President Lois B. DeFleur. “We look forward to hearing the Governor’s budget message so we will know how much money he is proposing for these projects. We will then advocate strongly with the legislature for them. The University is appreciative of (state) Senator (Thomas) Libous’ support as well as other community leaders who have helped us. This is a very exciting time for all of us.”

The academic center will be a cooperative effort between the University, Broome Community College and Empire State College to expand some of their current activities into downtown Binghamton.

The creation of the high technology commercialization center marks the second phase of the state’s strategy to transform New York’s economy into the forefront of high technology, Pataki said.

The Phase II commercialization center will capitalize on Binghamton University’s strengths by leveraging its experience and partnerships in small-scale systems packaging. By perfecting packaging and manufacturing processes at the micro- and nanoscale levels, the University-based center will ramp up the value of innovations spawned by Phase I Centers of Excellence throughout the state, he said.

“We’re excited about being at the forefront of New York’s Phase II high-tech initiative,” said Bahgat Sammakia, interim vice president for research. “The governor’s proposal to create a high-tech commercialization center at Binghamton perfectly complements our plans to advance the University’s strengths in the area of small scale systems packaging through new and ambitious initiatives with regional corporate and educational partners.”

Pataki said the creation of a new academic center would be part of his plan for the advancement of a detailed, multi-billion dollar capital plan for the State University of New York and City University of New York. Pataki said he is committed to providing support for state-of-the-art academic facilities and critical repairs to physical infrastructures.

The University believes such an expansion can help revitalize the region and add to the diversification of downtown Binghamton.

Plans for the development of the center are in the discussion stages, and a specific timetable or location for the center have yet to be determined. A planning committee to develop and focus the concept of the academic center is being assembled.

The University has received strong support from SUNY, Libous and Binghamton Mayor Richard Bucci for development of the center, with a common goal to enhance the quality and vitality of downtown Binghamton.

The University has several offices and services in downtown Binghamton, including the Small Business Development Center, the Center City Coordination Program, the Educational Talent Search Program and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

Current proposals call for the downtown center to include three major clusters of activity: academic programming for degree and certificate programs; independent courses and non-credit continuing education courses; as well as workforce and community development activities.

Development of the facility will require funding for design, construction and renovations and equipment, as well as identification of a site that is environmentally sound and in a safe area.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08