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Officials see ITC as a key to boosting Tier economy

By : Katie Ellis

Phyllis O’Donnell, a researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences, works in one of the Innovative Technologies Complex’s labs.
The vision laid out several years ago was realized Tuesday as the first building in Binghamton University’s Innovative Technologies Complex (ITC) was officially opened before a crowd of local officials.

Calling it a home for intellectual activity, productive research and technology transfer, President Lois B. DeFleur spoke of the building’s physical transformation and its future. “It starts with research, with ideas, with creativity,” she said. “Today is really a type of genesis, of giving birth.”

The 92,000-square-foot building is dedicated to multidisciplinary research in biomedicine, bioengineering, biosensors and biotechnology and houses collaborative research laboratories, space for clinical trials, pre-incubators to support University-initiated or University-related businesses, as well as support and administrative functions.

The transformation of the building to house state-of-the-art, flexible laboratory space was made possible through $15 million in Gen*NY*sis (Generating Employment Through New York Science) funding obtained by state Sen. Thomas W. Libous, who spoke of the impact the ITC will have on the region.

“We’re making a tremendous investment today in careers,” he said. “We’re creating careers that will build our economic growth.”

Libous cited the team effort that investment took. “Some great things happen on this campus and they don’t come by chance. They come because of leadership,” he said. He called the $66 million recently committed to an engineering and science building for the ITC, as well as the millions already invested in the Binghamton University Education and Community Development Center and the Events Center as positives for the region. “All of this helps the economy of the Southern Tier. We believe in that commitment and will continue to do so,” he said. “Our investment includes partnering with businesses, government and, most of all, the University.”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo emphasized her pride in the University. “This dream that has come to fruition today is something that we want to talk about all across the state,” she said. “We deserve to be recognized for the hard work done here.”

Vice President for Research Gerald Sonnenfeld led a tour, pointing out the utilities and modular-style labs. “All of the utilities are in the ceiling and if we want to ‘change out’ a lab, the benches just disconnect and roll out,” he said. “This allows us to save money and months or years in renovation work. We’ve designed these labs to fit our faculty, and our labs rival anything you’d find anywhere in the world.”

Howard Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, recently joined the University. His start-up company — NanoMas — is housed in the ITC and specializes in nanotechnology research and development. “What a great opportunity this University offered,” he said. “Everything runs smoothly and is so impressive. I look forward to making great contributions.”

Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala and Vestal Town Supervisor Peter Andreasen echoed the importance of the ITC, noting they look forward to future growth.

“Today is only the beginning,” Sonnenfeld said.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08