Stanford on the Hudson? City Preps for Release of Engineering School Proposal

The race to build a top-tier science and engineering school in New York will rev up this week.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg will convene a private breakfast meeting of business and civic leaders Tuesday at Google’s Manhattan headquarters to present the city’s blueprint for the future tech campus, first announced late last year.

Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg believes an engineering school is critical to the city's future success. Here he delivers a speech in New York's Cooper Union, Thursday, May 26, 2011. AP Photo/Richard Drew

Later that day, Bloomberg will deliver the keynote address at an event sponsored by Crain’s, arguing his plan is critical for New York’s future economic growth. And later this week the city will release its formal request for proposals for the school, which is sure to set off a flurry of activity from the dozen or more institutions that have expressed interest in spearheading the project.




“If you ask leaders at tech companies what they need most, more likely than not they’ll tell you it’s one thing: more skilled engineers,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “New York City’s tech industry is growing, but a new or expanded applied sciences campus can help catapult that industry and our economy to a new level we haven’t yet seen and one that can drive job growth for decades.”

Dozens of academic institutions from around the world want to take up Bloomberg’s offer to build a new engineering school in the five boroughs. The administration sees it as a way to make New York a tech magnet to rival Silicon Valley, and while some city schools feel overlooked, others are ramping up the pressure.

Cornell University, based in Ithaca, N.Y., hired a lobbyist — Suri Kasirer — and a public relations firm — BerlinRosen — in its quest to be selected by the city. It has reached out to elected officials to shore up support. And once the city releases its formal request for proposals, expected in the next few weeks, Cornell says it expects to submit an attractive offer.

“We’re really the best positioned school to help fuel this technology ecosystem in New York,” said Dan Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell’s dean of computing and information science, at a tech meeting for alums in Manhattan last week.

From the other side of the country, Stanford University will flout its Silicon Valley connections and multibillion-dollar endowment in its own application. In its response to the original request for expressions of interest, Stanford said it would build a $1 billion facility to house 100 professors and 2,200 graduate students.

“Our proposal will speak for itself,” said Lisa Lapin, Stanford’s assistant vice president for communications. “If it’s something New York is interested in, we’re interested too.”

Bloomberg has said the winning applicant will be chosen by December, and that the city is prepared to offer four locations as possible sites: Farm Colony in Staten Island, Governors Island, Roosevelt Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Applicants are welcome to propose privately owned sites as well.

Read the full post at City Hall News.

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