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University gets $25M in state funding for $100M engineering building

State Sens. Kenneth LaValle and John Flanagan listen

State Sens. Kenneth LaValle and John Flanagan listen to Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the Stony Brook College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, describe plans for a new engineering building. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Stony Brook University has secured $25 million in state funding to begin developing a new $100 million state-of-the-art engineering and applied sciences building, the school, business leaders and elected officials announced Thursday morning.

The funding, secured by State Sens. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), will be used to start the architectural design and planning of a 100,000-square-foot building that will include classroom, lab and manufacturing shop space. The funding will enable the school to begin fundraising efforts for the remaining financing.

The funds come from the State and Municipal Facilities Program, which provides capital project funds for state, local and not-for-profit entities.

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences currently uses several buildings, many of which were built decades ago, said Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the college.

The need for a newer facility, he said, has been driven by a national and local economy that's "increasingly dependent  on technology," increases in undergraduate enrollment in engineering, and the university's inability to keep up with demand.

"On one hand, we have infrastructure that’s out of date. On the other hand, we have exploding demand for engineering degrees,” he said. "We are limited by the facilities that we have. We are actually turning away a lot of highly qualified students.”

In recent years, the school has raised admission standards for its engineering program  due to the growth of engineering enrollment and space constraints.

"The facts that they gave us were beyond compelling," Flanagan said. "We want to keep these young men and women here."

The number of students enrolled in the university’s engineering program has increased by 60 percent in the past five years, from 2,599 students in 2012 to 4,136 students last year. The number of engineering jobs in the Long Island and New York City region is expected to grow by 16 percent by 2024, four times faster than the national average, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and Department of Labor projections cited by Sotiropoulos

“We’re making an investment so that students will be educated in the areas that employers need on the equipment that is the most up to date,” said LaValle, who is also chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee. 

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