Capital Region Leaders Unite Behind UAlbany's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Artist's rendering of new home of College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 23, 2016) -- Capital Region community, business, education and government leaders today announced unified support for the University at Albany’s plan to transform a century-old former public school building into a home for its new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), and requested $20 million in the state budget to start the project.

The capital funding would finance the first phase of the project, which will turn the one-time Albany High School building adjacent to UAlbany’s downtown campus into a state-of-the-art engineering school building.

Locating CEAS in the middle of the City of Albany marks the next phase in a deepening partnership between the Capital Region's comprehensive public research university, its home city and the larger region.

All told, the $60 million project will create 127,000 square feet of classroom, research and office space with capacity for more than 1,000 students and 180 faculty and researchers. It will also create a dynamic new community resource, including a 1,000-seat auditorium, space for new collaborations with local schools and community organizations, including a “Summer Science Saturday” program, and other opportunities.

UAlbany new home College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Capital Region supporters of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences gather in front of the proposed new home for the College. Left to Right Assembly members Patricia A. Fahy and John T. McDonald III, CEAS Interim Dean Kim Boyer, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Senator Neil D. Breslin, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assembly member Peter D. Lopez, and Albany Medical Center President and CEO, James Barba. (Photo by Paul Miller)

“The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is at the center of our vision for UAlbany as we create the largest—and most strategic—academic expansion in fifty years,” said UAlbany President Robert J. Jones. “This is the most significant component of our expansion to date, and with its location in the heart of Albany, this college will be highly visible and deeply engaged with the community.”

H. Carl McCall, State University of New York Board of Trustees Chairman, said: “The University at Albany is creating an affordable, urban College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in a modern, state-of-the-art facility within a restored, historic Albany building. By doing so, UAlbany is creating opportunities for students – particularly students who have historically been underrepresented in the engineering fields, a brighter future for the Albany community and the potential for sustained economic growth for the Capital Region. Great job, President Jones and UAlbany.”

Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan said: "UAlbany’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will be a wonderful new addition to the downtown campus and the entire downtown community. By rebuilding this historic old building, UAlbany is helping to restore its beauty but more importantly is creating an important economic engine as part of its much-needed engineering school. This will bring the University and the City even closer together as partners and it will be a resource and driver of economic development, sustained job and career creation, and community activity."

At the same time, CEAS will inject energy and creativity into a neighborhood less than a mile west of the State Capitol.

In all, the new CEAS is part of a comprehensive vision to:

  • Expand UAlbany’s capacity to helping solve society’s critical challenges such as clean water, renewable energy, medicine, cyber-security, climate change and more;
  • Strengthen the region’s only public research university by broadening its offerings available to its diverse student body;
  • Provide students with broad and diverse offerings so they are best prepared to thrive in the ever-changing 21st Century economy;
  • Increase opportunities for cutting-edge research and other investments at the University and in the region;
  • Help local businesses through increased campus activity;
  • Expand and support the arts;
  • Create new partnerships and programs with local K-12 schools, Albany Medical Center, Hudson Valley Community College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy and others;
  • Create “maker space” where local entrepreneurs can meet and develop ideas for new products; and
  • Improve Albany’s North Lake Ave-Ontario Street corridor with new mass transit and other improvements pending a comprehensive corridor study by the City and UAlbany.

President Jones was joined by Mayor Sheehan, Albany Medical Center CEO James Barba; Senator Neil Breslin; Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy, John McDonald, and Peter Lopez; Capital Region Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Eagan, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, University at Albany Foundation President George R. Hearst III; Albany County Executive Dan McCoy; and others.

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said: “The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UAlbany will serve as an important center for teaching, learning, and research while supporting SUNY’s efforts to offer degree programs that prepare students for success in high-demand careers. President Jones’ vision for this state-of-the-art facility in downtown Albany is to be commended, as it has the potential to have a tremendous impact not only on UAlbany students, faculty, and staff but the local community and all of New York State.”

State Senator Neil Breslin said: “The University is meeting the growing need for engineers to live and work in the Capital Region, across Upstate and throughout the entire state. The University at Albany's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences serves as a strong public option for students interested in computer engineering, and will help keep graduates in the area for the long term. It also provides an opportunity for women and students of color to obtain an affordable engineering education in a wonderful urban setting.”

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said: "I commend the University at Albany's commitment to the Midtown Education District through this capital investment in their new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This bold expansion of UAlbany's academic portfolio will prepare tomorrow's leaders for the innovation economy."

Assemblymember John McDonald said: “The renovations and innovations proposed by the University at Albany will bolster the transformation of the Capital Region, and help entice a variety of businesses to make their home here. This is an ideal and promising project for the University, for the City, local businesses and the community."

Assemblymember Peter Lopez said: “The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Albany will strengthen our region's ability to provide quality technical education and training to meet the needs of tomorrow's workforce. Just as important, this new venture represents an important step forward in strengthening our region's ability to create opportunity for local businesses, promote job growth and revitalize our communities through strategic partnerships, applied research and technology transfer. This is an important and welcome investment in our future."

State Senator George Amedore said: "A renovated Schuyler Building will serve as a centerpiece for revitalization in the Downtown Albany area. It will also serve as a centerpiece for growing new jobs and new businesses. This is the kind of economic incubator that can benefit our entire region. I applaud UAlbany for developing and implementing a plan that will serve students, improve opportunity, help revitalize a community, and create economic activity throughout Albany and the Capital Region.”

State Senator Hugh Farley said: “The University at Albany has built a strong reputation of providing the best opportunities for their students. Putting CEAS in the Schuyler Building will afford engineering students unique opportunities in the region.”

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said: “Our region will benefit greatly from UAlbany’s new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and from the rebuilding of a new home for the engineering school. Businesses across the Capital Region will be winners, as will prospective students and the wonderful community in downtown Albany where UAlbany plays such an important role already. This is a project that unites the entire region in support and is a credit to the University’s leadership for their farsighted vision.”

United States Representative Paul Tonko said: “The Capital Region has long been on the front lines in our battle to produce more STEM-educated professionals in the next decade. Our needs are great, but the resources we have at UAlbany are even greater. I am extremely grateful for the vision and effort put into this project, and I look forward to seeing the transformational programs that will come out of the new college – creating cutting-edge, quality jobs and partnerships along the way.”

President and CEO of Albany Medical Center James J. Barba said: “I have seen first-hand what revitalization of a neighborhood looks like. At Albany Medical Center, in partnership with the City of Albany, we transformed the face of Park South and the New Scotland corridor, enhancing the Medical Center, encouraging further investment in this part of the city and improving the quality of life for more residents. I now envision the same things happening on the Western Avenue corridor – thanks to Dr. Jones, the University at Albany, Mayor Sheehan, and our elected officials.”

Capital Region Chamber CEO Mark Eagan, said: "This installation of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in a historic downtown building fortifies the relationship between the University and the city of Albany, and will afford many exciting and life-changing opportunities, both economic and cultural, to the neighborhoods of the city and the students of the college.”

UAlbany University Council Chairman Michael Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, said: "The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will provide a boost for economic development in the city of Albany and the region, and is a key element in the University's ambitious academic expansion plans. As chairman of the UAlbany University Council, Advisory Council Co-Chair to the Capital Region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative, and proud two-time UAlbany alumnus, I couldn't be prouder of the University's efforts to transform the historic Schuyler property into a world-class engineering school."

University at Albany Alumni Association President Joe Garba said: "As a proud two-time alumnus and president of the University at Albany Alumni Association Board of Directors, I commend the University for its foresight in creating the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. We have seen an increased focus on training people in STEM fields at the Federal and State Government level, and this College will meet the very vocal need for a public option for engineering training in the region. Today's announcement continues the steady growth in the University's academic landscape, and continues to make UAlbany a huge opportunity for its students and the region."

Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Kim Boyer, said: “Engineering can be described as 'Science in Service to Society.' This research-intensive, fully featured college of engineering will be an engine of transformation for the university, the community, and the region. Offering high-quality programs within a comprehensive, public university, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UAlbany presents an affordable, intellectually rich path to a rewarding, successful career in high-demand fields. From our downtown location we will be perfectly positioned to engage the community in a variety of ways, inspiring a more diverse generation of students to pursue careers in the engineering and applied sciences.

Capitalize Albany Corporation President Sarah Reginelli said: "The City of Albany is competing on a global scale and our institutions are a key component to our region’s economic vitality. UAlbany’s investment into the Schuyler Building and its new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will reinforce its downtown campus’ bond with the surrounding neighborhoods and local residents, and provides a unique opportunity to deepen the connections between Albany’s premiere talent and regional employers.”

Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) CEO Carm Basile said: “The development of the Schuyler building into a state- of- the art learning facility is an excellent example of transit oriented development. This project will help support the Washington/Western Bus Rapid Transit line, currently in development, and further the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

United Way President and CEO Brian Hassett said: "The new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the renovated Schuyler Building will provide a host of opportunities for the University, the city of Albany, and the community as a whole. The ability to hold charitable events in its 1,000-person auditorium will be great for organizations like our United Way, allowing us to spread our message throughout the Capital Region on a larger platform."

Capital District 100 Hispanic Women President Janet Sapio-Mayta said: “The Capital District 100 Hispanic Women is pleased support the College of Engineering and Applied Science in its new location. We support the University at Albany in this important endeavor, not only for its revitalization efforts and the concomitant benefits to the community, but also to maximize access and opportunities for Hispanic women to prepare and enter STEM related careers.”

Association of General Contractors of New York State CEO Mike Elmendorf said: "Today's news that the historic “Schuyler Building” will be transformed into a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility shows us the importance and impact that increased capital funding can have for SUNY campuses throughout New York State. Investing in SUNY not only benefits the institution and students, but has a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, community and economy. This project should serve to remind our leaders in Albany that SUNY deserves a comprehensive and fully funded capital plan in the upcoming state budget.”

Eastern Contractors Association President and CEO Todd Helfrich said: “Eastern Contractors Association is excited for the rehabilitation of the Schuyler Building. It is a beautiful, historic building in the heart of the City and will bring value to the neighborhood and have a positive economic impact through an influx of critical jobs to downtown, both during construction and day-to-day use. SUNY Albany’s commitment to STEM education will have another showpiece here in Tech Valley.”

Senior Director of Computer Vision, Kitware, Inc., Anthony Hoogs said: “I am excited that the University at Albany is starting a complete engineering program. As a local high-tech company specializing in scientific computing, Kitware hires a lot of software engineers from RPI from the BS level through PhDs. However, we have difficulty finding enough local talent, and often hire from all around the country. It would be highly desirable to have another university nearby that can supply smart, motivated software engineers and computer science researchers who already know the Capital Region and want to start their careers here.”

In its new home, CEAS will establish new public, private and educational partnerships, host innovative start-ups (including development projects through START-UP NY) and dramatically improve the quality, character and vibrancy of UAlbany’s Downtown campus and the surrounding Albany neighborhood.

Today’s announcement came at a news conference held at the College’s proposed location, which from 1913-74 served as Albany High School and later served as an elementary school. UAlbany acquired the building, also previously known as the Schuyler Building, in 2013.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.