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Stony Brook plans cancer research center

ALBANY -- Stony Brook University unveiled an ambitious plan Wednesday to build a sprawling cancer research facility, add 245 new faculty and 400 staff, and enroll an additional 1,500 students.

University and business leaders said the plan would help students, improve local medical care options and boost the economy.

But it all depends on securing two big building blocks from state government: a $35-million grant to jump-start the project and permission to hike tuition by 8 percent a year.

Stony Brook's president, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., outlined the university's vision to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders. Cuomo called it a "very impressive presentation" but made no immediate commitment.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) warned that any approval for a tuition hike would have to be accompanied by a commitment, written into state statute, that lawmakers would not reduce basic operational aid to State University of New York campuses.

"We're not going to balance the state budget on the backs of our students," Silver said.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) voiced similar concerns about state aid.

The State Legislature and the governor would have to approve any tuition hike; this year's legislative session is slated to end June 20.

A governor's panel also must approve Stony Brook's application for a $35-million "SUNY 2020" grant, intended to fund proposals to boost academics and economic development.

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