Binghamton, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) -- Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, along with high-profile Southern Tier business and community leaders, presented an in-depth plan Wednesday to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the New York State Legislature that would increase student access to the University while bolstering the region’s economy and enhancing renewable energy research in New York state.
According to a news release:
Stenger was joined at the presentation by Randall Edouard, director of Binghamton’s Educational Opportunity Program; Bahgat Sammakia, interim vice president for research; Diana Bendz, retired IBM executive and president of the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition (STOC); and James J. McNamara, president and CEO of Endicott Interconnect Technologies.
The plan they presented is the University’s application for Gov. Cuomo’s NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, an initiative designed to make the State University of New York a leading catalyst for job growth in New York state, while strengthening the academic and research programs at SUNY’s four University Centers: Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany and Binghamton. The initial phase of the program awards a $35 million capital construction challenge grant to each center upon approval of a detailed, long-term economic development and academic enrichment plan.
The Binghamton Plan rests on two objectives:
- Construction of a $70 million, state-of-the-art Smart Energy Research and Development Facility.
- The addition of 2,000 students, 150 faculty and 175 professional and support staff to develop new and strengthen existing academic programs.
Under the plan, it’s estimated that Binghamton University’s economic impact on the region will increase $77.5 million annually. This will include the possible creation of more than 840 new - more jobs in the region in the next five years. The University’s overall annual economic impact on New York state will reach $1 billion by 2017.
Stenger called the plan “the capstone” of 10 years of effort to increase campus research facilities and create an infrastructure for them.
“The Smart Energy building will support innovative research that will generate new partnerships with business,” Stenger said. “Combined with 2,000 additional students and nearly 400 faculty and staff, the plan will significantly boost the region’s economy, providing both short- and long-term benefits.”
The plan will allow Binghamton to improve its student:faculty ratio from 21:1 to 19:1 and provide students with effective academic and research support.
The Smart Energy Research and Development Facility, to be constructed at the Innovative Technologies Complex, will house research programs that build upon Binghamton’s existing strengths in four key areas of alternative energy research:
• Solar and thermoelectric energy harvesting.
• Energy storage.
• Energy efficiency in electronic systems.
• Sensor development for energy resource management.
“This critical research will help New York remain a leader in cost-effective, renewable energy production,” said Sammakia. “The investment represented in The Binghamton Plan will open opportunities for growth in this critical discipline and allow us to reduce dependency on foreign energy sources. We estimate that Binghamton’s research in the energy arena will increase by 20 to 30 percent in the first five years after the facility’s completion.”
Binghamton will also commit $700,000 of the additional tuition revenue it receives to ensure affordability for TAP-eligible undergraduates, and an additional $900,000 to graduate student support programs, supplemental scholarships for undergraduate students and expanded support for the Educational Opportunity Program. Over the next five years, over $12 million – 25 percent of all revenues from the enacted rational tuition plan – will be assigned to support student access.