By Wyatt Gorman | March 18, 2021
The university’s $180-million technology and entrepreneurship complex, which will have labs, a weather observation room, geothermal heating and cooling and other amenities, is on schedule to be completed later this summer.
The 245,000-square foot Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex at the Herriman State Office Campus is expected to be ready for occupancy between late July and August, according to the senior site project manager, Mike Stewart.
“The project is 90% complete,” said Stewart of Turner Construction, which is the construction manager of the project. During the final process of building, ETEC is being inspected and checked in terms of safety and operational function. This includes fire escapes, fire alarms and other safety precautions, Stewart added.
ETEC, the second largest academic building behind the main university library, is to be the new home of the university’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Cyber Security and Homeland Security and the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences research center.
“Co-locating the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity with our Weather-Climate Enterprise will boost research collaborations between them and help make New Yorkers safer from, more prepared for and more resilient to natural disasters and other extreme weather,“ said Senior Communications Specialist Mike Nolan.
He added that “ETEC is truly an interdisciplinary space” that brings the university’s many research strengths with its fastest-growing new programs and innovative entrepreneurial resources into a single facility.
The building includes about 40 research labs, over 20 classrooms and instructional labs, and the capacity to house more than 200 full-time faculty and researchers and about 800 students. ETEC will also include a café in the basement along with meeting spaces for students, who can access the main campus by a pedestrian/biking path and shuttle bus service, according to Nolan.
Nolan added that the building will also have several “unique learning spaces,” including a theater to replicate emergency operations scenarios, a makerspace, a visualization development center, weather map rooms and a glass-enclosed weather observation room at the top.
ETEC, the largest instructional building on the Uptown Campus, will also host the New York State weather detection system known as the Mesonet. According to the state, the system, which was built in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, is the nation’s most advanced weather detection system.
Project Manager Stewart said there were no labor or architectural issues during construction, which started in 2017 when the geothermal wells were drilled. The wells will reduce the heating and cooling costs of the building and cut back on the reliance on fossil fuels.
“It’s been a really good job,” he said.
Before construction, the site had a lot of unsuitable soil. Backfilling was used to replace the original sandy site soil with more suitable soil for the construction of underground geothermal wells, he added.
Solar panels will also be installed.
The complex is funded by the Office of the Governor and SUNY through an established NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program.
The program’s focus is to achieve economic growth and academic growth of New York public and private universities by awarding participating universities grant money. Grants administered by the Empire State Development Corporation and SUNY’s Construction Fund through the program are given to projects for a university to fulfill academic plans.