Monday, December 19, 2011

Cornell-Technion University Bid Wins Right to Build Applied Science Campus

After Stanford dropped out, it was almost a given that Cornell University and Technion University of Israel would win with their joint bid. The news is now official. They will get to build the campus on Roosevelt Island. That bid is helped by a $350 million gift for building the campus and that Cornell was looking to have academic programs up and running as early as next year as the campus was being built out.
The announcement, to take place at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center on the Upper East Side, according to people briefed on the plan, will come three days after Stanford pulled out of the contest, and Cornell announced a $350 million gift, the largest in its history, to help bankroll its proposal.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the matter publicly, those briefed said that Cornell had long before emerged as the front-runner. “It was already very much along the way to this result,” one said.

Still, they said, the mayor may not have ruled out the possibility of anointing two winners: the other contenders are Columbia University, a consortium led by New York University, and Carnegie Mellon.

Cornell proposed a campus with 2.1 million square feet of building space at a cost of more than $2 billion, accommodating more than 2,000 students, with classrooms, laboratories, housing and a conference center, among other facilities. The project, to be built over a generation, would include a range of unusual environmental features, like heavy use of solar energy and geothermal wells.

City officials had originally planned to choose a winner by year’s end. But after seeing the voluminous proposals submitted on Oct. 28, they warned not to expect an announcement until January, so the timing of Monday’s announcement was a bit of a surprise.

Yet Cornell is in a hurry: it has promised to have classes running by next September, a year ahead of the date the city had requested.

“There’s a lot of work to do, and a real desire to get things rolling in the time the mayor has left in office,” one person briefed on the plan said.

The city is providing the land on Roosevelt Island, currently occupied by a little-used hospital, as well as $100 million in infrastructure improvements to ease building.

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