And the winner of New York City's high-tech campus sweepstakes appears to be... Cornell, by $350 million dollars. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to announce the news later today at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Ithaca-based Ivy is apparently so eager to get started they want to have their first classes going by next September—a year earlier than the Bloomberg administration initially asked for!
The rush to anoint Cornell ahead of the original January announcement deadline comes days after Stanford abruptly dropped out of the race just as Cornell announced a record-breaking $350 million donation to help it build a $2 billion city campus. Cornell is proposing to build 2.1 million square foot of building space around Roosevelt Island that will accomodate more than 2,000 students. The project, "to be built over a generation, would include a range of unusual environmental features, like heavy use of solar energy and geothermal wells."
Part of the reported appeal of Cornell's bid, beyond its existing presence in the city just across from the proposed Roosevelt Island site, is that it is willing to spend more money on the new school—including on toxic on-site clean up—in the hopes that it will eventually make a bundle off of tech patents its students and faculty create (as schools like Stanford and MIT already do).
In order to get the ball rolling though, the school is said to be planning to start classes next fall on a site away from the Roosevelt Island. Cornell appears to be under a lot of pressure to get this thing going from the beleaguered Bloomberg administration. As a source gently puts it to the Times: "There’s a lot of work to do, and a real desire to get things rolling in the time the mayor has left in office."