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Cornell NYC Tech campus mixes students, executives

Associated Press Published: October 15, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — A high-powered, high-tech graduate school meant to link research and the real world would feature company offices along with classrooms, under a newly released master plan.

Students walking to their apartments might encounter executives heading to a conference on Cornell NYC Tech's park-like campus on Roosevelt Island, according to a plan being submitted Monday for a city review.

"We're really looking at the opportunity, here in the city, to develop a new level of graduate and research campus for the Information Age," said the school's dean, Dan Huttenlocher.

The plan provides a newly detailed look at a project promoted as key in making New York a tech-sector magnet — and lured with free city land and up to $100 million in publicly paid improvements. Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won a seven-way contest last year to create the school, set to open with a handful of master's students in temporary space in January.

The plan envisions hosting 1,400 students, professors and tech company workers on a park-like campus on the East River island by 2017. The campus would grow to accommodate 5,400 people by 2037.

City officials call it an economic-development engine that will help ideas get beyond the ivory tower. Cornell leaders also see the project as reinventing academic research for a more collaborative age.

Hence a school that would pair every student with a tech-industry mentor, rent space to companies and technology-minded nonprofits, and have an "executive education center" — read: conference facility — that could include a 225-room hotel, under the master plan crafted by the architecture powerhouse Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The 12-acre campus would replace a public rehabilitation hospital, which city officials say was already slated to close, on the residential island.

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