Daniel O'Connor/Photo Editor Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath speaks to reporters at a press conference held outside Science V on Monday afternoon. Magrath spoke about the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant, a program announced by Gov. Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher that could direct $35 million to Binghamton University.

Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath held a press conference Monday afternoon in front of the Science V construction to discuss the grant program unveiled earlier that day by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

Magrath noted his excitement about the first phase of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program which, if passed by New York state’s legislature, could direct $140 million to the four SUNY university centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook. Though the legislation has not been approved by the legislature, Magrath said he believes the vote will occur soon.

According to a written statement from Cuomo’s office, each university center would receive an initial grant of $35 million in capital funding. $20 million would be taken from the Empire State Development Corporation, and the other $15 million would come from SUNY’s fund for construction.

The smaller four-year colleges would not receive funding from this program.

“This is a really good day for the State University of New York, and it is an equally great day for Binghamton University because of the announcement that Gov. Cuomo and Chancellor Zimpher have just made about NYSUNY 2020,” Magrath said. “A set of proposals and a piece of legislation that gives special empowerment, when it gets through the Assembly, and I’m sure that it will, for the four university centers.”

According to Cuomo’s statement, each university center will submit a detailed long-term economic and academic plan, which will include endorsements from surrounding local governments and details for expansion, future faculty hirings and property that will be purchased.

“We do have a plan for Binghamton that’s already been submitted and we’re fine-tuning it a bit, but we have a really strong plan on economic development,” Magrath said.

In the governor’s press release, Zimpher expressed her support for the program and reaffirmed her belief in SUNY’s importance to the state.

“Gov. Cuomo’s vision of reopening New York to business fits perfectly with SUNY’s ability to be an economic driver for our state — a ready-made asset for New York’s recovery,” Zimpher said.

Magrath emphasized the University’s strength as a research institution as instrumental in receiving the grant.

“It’s kind of symbolic that we’re standing in front of a facility that’s called Science V, that is intended to highlight our strength as a research-intensive University,” he said. “This facility and the other science buildings and lots of other stuff that’s done here is a testimonial to what this University is to economic development and job growth in the Southern Tier and in New York state.”

Magrath added, “We’ve got our plan. We’re ready to go.”