Updated 07/30/2012 11:46 PM
City Pledges $15M In Funds To Boost Columbia Tech Program
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday the city is setting aside $15 million for a new science and engineering institute at Columbia University, as the latest step in his drive to make the city a center for cutting-edge schools of higher education. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
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When Mayor Michael Bloomberg set up a competition among colleges for $100 million to build a new applied science campus in the city, Columbia University and New York University both entered bids, made it to the final round and then lost to Cornell University.
At least it seemed like they had lost, but as plans move forward to build the Cornell campus on Roosevelt Island, the mayor rolled out plans, first for New York University, and now Columbia, to build new science institutions as well.
Columbia's consolation prize was $15 million of city assistance to build a new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, meaning the city will soon have three new centers for science education and research.
"The quality and volume of academic and institutional planning that has been spurred by the mayor's request for applied science proposals really was extraordinary," said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger.
Columbia's center calls for 44,000-square-feet of new space by 2016 on the school's existing campuses in Morningside Heights and Washington Heights, and there are plans to eventually hire 75 new faculty members.
The mayor expects the Columbia institute to generate more than 4,000 jobs and spawn 170 new companies over the next three decades.
Bloomberg says the Columbia, NYU and Cornell projects together should boost the city's economy by more than $33 billion over 30 years.
"We're just delighted that Columbia is going to be such a big part of it. While we continue to cast a wide net looking for engineering talent, we also welcome this opportunity to work more closely with one of our top home-town teams," said Bloomberg.
The university president hinted he would also welcome the opportunity to work more closely with the mayor, in his other role as Michael Bloomberg, the private philanthropist.
"This building, so called the 'Northwest Building,' because we are still looking for a donor, Mr. Mayor," said Bollinger.
Meanwhile, the city is apparently still looking for more partners. It says negotiations continue with universities, like Carnegie Mellon, that also lost the original bid.