December 12, 2013

Grant to aid ZEN work



Part of the $5 million in state regional council subsidies awarded for projects at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will go toward outfitting Tech Valley High School's future home at the college.

Last month, Tech Valley High said it will move into temporary space next fall at the NanoCollege because the ZEN Building at the NanoCollege campus it is planning to move to from its East Greenbush location won't be ready until 2015.

ZEN stands for Zero Energy Nano. In addition to Tech Valley High, the building will house the NanoCollege's growing clean energy operations, as well as educational and workforce development programs.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said $1.5 million will be awarded to the Tech Valley School Foundation to be used for its future 22,000-square-foot ZEN space. The money is also supposed to pay for the Children's Museum of Science and Technology — which was merged into the NanoCollege earlier this year — to move from North Greenbush to the ZEN building.

The $1.5 million is a small portion of what the Tech Valley High and CMOST moves to Albany are expected to cost. The Capital Region Economic Development Council application to the state said the money would go toward funding a $12.5 million project that will use the high school and the museum and a "fabrication" lab to encourage young people to become interested in science.

The NanoCollege also received $3.5 million to create a training center for software development entrepreneurs. The facility, called the DO-IT Center, for Digital Data Open-Innovation Training Center, will be inside ZEN once the building is complete, NanoCollege officials said Thursday. Documents submitted by the regional council show that the DO-IT Center will ultimately cost $17.5 million and have a "Googleplex-like" environment, referring to Google's Silicon Valley headquarters.

The NanoCollege also received $125,000 through the regional council awards to run a business incubation consortium called the Tech Valley NYS Certified Business Incubator. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy was given money to run a similar consortium, although the RPI group will focus on biotechnology companies.