The announcement came from State Senators John Flanagan and Kenneth LaValle, who both helped to secure part of the funding that will go toward the 100,000-square foot building.
The building will include classrooms and labs along with modern day equipment and manufacturing shop spaces.
“This funding will help bolster the academic pursuits of the young men and women who come to Long Island to study while helping improve our economic climate,” Flanagan stated in the press release. “By creating the facilities needed to attract these talented young people and by providing them with the education they need to work and stay here, this new facility will help foster a brighter future for them and for our region.”
Although Stony Brook has received $25 million, the university still needs another $75 million in order to begin planning the design and construction. “We still have to get more money from both the state and private donors,” Director of Capital Planning, John Fogarty, said.
Stony Brook is one of the major producers of engineering graduates within the SUNY system, according to enrollment data on SUNY’s website. The number of students enrolled in the university’s engineering program has seen a 60 percent increase in five years, according to the press release.
“As an engineering innovation and design center, our new facility will be designed to provide students with the tools and experiences to become tomorrow’s global leaders,” Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Fotis Sotiropoulos, stated in the release. “We envision the facility will foster experiential learning and entrepreneurship, and serve as the headquarters for partnerships between students, faculty and industry.”
The new engineering building follows the goals highlighted in the 2013 Facility Master Plan. It provides guidelines for how to improve facilities on campus while improving programs in both academics and research between 2013-2023.
“The administrators identified this as a top priority along with other initiatives in which it’s goal was to replace the old facilities with new ones,” Fogarty said. He added that the university has been trying for years to get funding from New York State, which included an application process, where the state then was awarded a grant.
The funding for this upcoming project came from the State and Municipal Facilities Program, which provides funding for capital projects for both state and local entities.
Students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, viewed the news about the building as a positive sign.
“I think it will be really great because many engineering classes here at the heavy engineering building are crowded, it takes students more time to get to classes in another building, so having a brand new building will be very efficient,” said Amr Ibrahim, a sophomore biomedical engineering major.
While Stony Brook is planning to move forward with building new facilities, there are existing buildings that are outdated. Buildings like Physics and Life Sciences were built in the 1970s and haven’t undergone any major renovations since.
“Older buildings have ‘embodied energy,’ which is valuable in and of itself, so there are clear advantages to retrofitting older structures to operate more efficiently,” Elizabeth Hewitt, an assistant professor in the department of technology and society who teaches a course on energy and buildings, said. “Less raw material is needed, less waste is generated, and less transportation of materials to/from a project site is necessary.”
Right now, there is no official date to begin construction due to ongoing planning and the need for additional funding. “It takes up to one year of planning the design because of hiring architects and engineers, then it takes up to 2 years to construct so you’re looking at a three and half year window,” Fogarty said.