October 27, 2011

Cornell Finalizes Tech Campus Proposal

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As part of its proposal to construct a new tech campus in New York City, the University revealed on Wednesday that it plans to enter into an agreement with a third-party solar developer, which will finance, build and own the campus’ solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

Cornell will purchase energy from the developer to power the campus’ net-zero academic building, a 150,000-square-foot structure that is the center of the renewable energy design.

The deadline for the University’s final proposal is Fri­day. If accepted, the University will begin a development process on Roosevelt Island lasting more than 30 years, with an estimated final cost of more than $1 billion, according to Deputy University Spokesperson Simeon Moss ’73.

“What’s more important than any price tag is that Cornell is committed to building this world-class applied sciences campus in the city, where we have a track record of constructing major academic facilities, such as our Weill Cornell Medical College,” Moss stated in an e-mail. “The goal is to create an economic development boon for the city with a campus that enhances — but does not compete with or draw funds from — Cornell’s Ithaca-based, main campus.”

On Wednesday, Stanford University submitted a 600-page final proposal to construct a $2.5 billion campus on Roosevelt Island, Crain’s New York Business reported.

The University first entered the competition in early March, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg extended an invitation to universities to build a research campus in New York City. Cornell was one of 18 universities to submit a formal expression of interest.

In July, Bloomberg announced an Oct. 28 deadline for final proposals and offered $100 million to the university with the most appealing one.

Cornell responded by officially announcing that it would draft a proposal to build an applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island. The academic structure for the campus will be uniquely centered on hubs — interdisciplinary academic programs — rather than traditional departments.

The Student Assembly endorsed the University’s tech campus bid in September and unanimously approved a resolution to create an ad-hoc committee to express its support.

University officials held a conference in New York City at the end of September to declare that the campus will begin accepting undergraduates by next summer and graduates by 2013. They set the ultimate goal of having 250 faculty members, 2,000 or more full-time students and more than 2 million square feet of developed space.

An online petition was created by Cornell alumni in October with the objective of gaining 20,000 signatures to send to Bloomberg. As of Thursday, the petition had garnered 20,958 signatures.

The Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the University’s tech campus plan on Oct. 12.

In late October, many of the universities competing for the tech campus announced that they were collaborating with other universities and businesses. Cornell revealed on Oct. 19 that it will collaborate with The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

On Monday, the University released designs for the proposed campus that emphasized a focus on sustainable energy. According to University officials, the campus will feature solar panels, geothermal wells and New York City’s largest net-zero building.

Bloomberg will reveal the winner of the competition by the end of the year.

Original Author: Dennis Liu