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Governor praises new engineering, science site

Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur presents Gov. David A. Paterson with a Bearcats windbreaker during a ceremony marking the construction of the new engineering and science building. Watching from left are: state Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupard

Building will help state’s economy recover, Paterson says
The University’s new engineering and science facility will be a key component in New York state’s economic recovery, Gov. David A. Paterson said during his first official visit to campus.

Paterson spoke at an Oct. 10 ceremony that launched construction of the
$66 million building at the University’s Innovative Technologies Complex.

“When you look at how valuable this new facility is going to be, you recognize what a contribution it will make as we try to recover from the economic plague we’re in,” Paterson said. “It is discovery and invention that have moved New York to the leadership in all kinds of economic development over the years. In order to sustain that, we have to invest in our colleges and universities.”

The ceremony also featured comments from University President Lois B. DeFleur, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, state Sen. Thomas W. Libous, state Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala and Vestal town Supervisor Peter Andreasen.

Libous, R-Binghamton, and Lupardo, D-Endwell, secured funding for the building, which will provide $112 million in economic impact and support more than 1,500 jobs during construction. The glass, metal and stone building will accommodate the expansion of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science and will feature administrative, academic and research space and suites for new business start-ups.

DeFleur called the ceremony “a great day for the University, a great day for the Southern Tier and a great day for New York state.

“We are grateful to Governor Paterson, Senator Libous and Assemblywoman Lupardo for their leadership and steadfast support,” she said. “This is one of the largest projects the University has undertaken and will have significant impact on the education of our students and on the discoveries and innovative ideas of our faculty. Working through the SUNY Construction Fund and drawing from the expertise of our Physical Facilities department, the unique features of this state-of-the-art building will greatly strengthen and enhance our partnerships throughout the region and state.”

Technological discoveries from the facility and the Biotechnology Building at the ITC will help create an innovative economy in the future, said Paterson, who stressed the importance of nanotechnology and advanced microtechnology to the state.
“These are the cutting-edge areas we think will be the same as establishing manufacturing in the 19th century,” he said. “These are the ways, along with medical and scientific research, that we’ll bring back jobs and benefit the people who live around us.”

Hinchey praised DeFleur’s work in bringing the University to new levels of excellence.
“As you look back over the last several years, you can’t help but be impressed and truly admire the progress (the University) has made,” he said. “The reason for that is the leadership here.”

Libous extended the praise to the University’s employees and students.

“At the state level, we get money and then certainly we build beautiful structures,” he said. “But it’s what takes place in the structure that’s important — and that’s the educational value. The students are the jewels that come out of the building.”

The new building will house the Watson dean’s office, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC). A large rotunda will connect the two ITC buildings, offering access to laboratories and fostering closer interactions between departments and the research centers currently housed in the biotechnology facility.

The building also has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, incorporating passive solar energy for heating, geothermal technology for heating and cooling the rotunda, energy-efficient windows and skylights to allow for maximum use of daylight and the latest technology for heat recovery and humidity control.

“This complex will be engaged in state-of-the-art research to help solve 21st-century challenges,” Lupardo said.

Paterson, who had the crowd laughing with jokes and comments as he introduced each elected official, also discussed potential cuts to the SUNY system.

The state closed budget gaps in April and August, but the recent downturn in the economy will force lawmakers to return in November to seek $2 billion in spending cuts. Paterson said “all systems in our government will be affected.” But SUNY has an advantage.

“The reason we’re sensitive about making cuts to SUNY is that SUNY suffered severe cuts in last year’s budget,” he said. “I really would like to separate SUNY from the other agencies in terms of cuts because this is the only agency that has a direct link to the economic development that could bring us out of this crisis.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08