Binghamton University received $800,000 worth of economic development grants from the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG).
The grant presentation was held Wednesday in the lobby of the Engineering and Science Building at the Innovative Technologies Complex (ITC). BU President Harvey Stenger was on hand to receive the checks from NYSEG President and CEO Mark Lynch.
The grant will go toward offsetting the costs of construction on the Center of Excellence Building and Science V, according to Lynch.
“We are lucky to have an opportunity to show how well we design and build buildings, to the point where we are actually awarded money for it,” Stenger said.
According to Stenger, BU was not eligible for the grant program until 2011 because it was meant primarily for the business industry. However, the University, with help from NYSEG and New York state assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, petitioned the New York State Public Service Commission to modify the requirements of the economic development programs.
Stenger said that though BU is receiving a large sum of money from NYSEG, the grant helps both the University and the company.
“When you’re expanding the energy base of a facility,” he said, “you have to run in new power lines, you have to put in new pipelines, you have to install new furnaces. And so that expansion is very expensive. What they’re trying to do is help you with the cost of that expansion because they know that you’re one of their important customers.”
Lynch agreed with Stenger that it is important to serve and help grow local businesses.
“We’re part of this community, too,” Lynch said. “All of our employees live and work in this area. They benefit from the University. The University attracts other jobs and businesses. All of this is a cycle to have that economic development and job retention in place.”
Stenger said that he hopes the Center of Excellence Building will receive the same LEED certification that the Engineering and Science Building did.
“We tackled this project with energy conservation almost at the top of the list,” he said. “Because it is a building that will exemplify and be a house for energy innovation.”
Lynch said that it was important to help local businesses.
“To be able to do this and actually help businesses’ growth in this University specifically, it’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. “It reinforces our commitment to the community. And we want to be a part of the community.”