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Education center to be built in Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse's Inner Harbor will house a center for SUNY ESF and OCC.

The latest projects slated for Syracuse’s Inner Harbor focus on education.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined county and city officials Tuesday to announce a state grant for the new SUNY Water Research and Educational Center.

The new facility will be funded in part through a $20 million SUNY 2020 grant. The major tenant will be SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry . The university’s new president, Quentin Wheeler, says it fits in with the school’s tradition of research and providing advice about restoring habitat around Onondaga Lake, once the most polluted lakes in the country

“For years we’ve made do with improvised research sites around the shore, and working off boats, which you have to do,” said Wheeler. "So this will provide a permanent state-of-the-art home for doing that. Both the research for our students and faculty, and for public outreach.  It’ll be a wonderful education facility.”

Onondaga Community College will also use 3,400 thousand square foot center. OCC President Casey Crabill says they will use science classrooms and focuses on employment training.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
Plans for the new educational center were shown at the announcement Tuesday.

“The building will provide us with flexible classroom space with a location closer to the business community, and the ability to bring different programming through depending on the needs of students in the community as well as businesses," said Craybill.

The Center will also be a one of the state’s new Start Up NY zones, offering companies a tax-free location to set up businesses. There’s no timetable yet for construction.

This project is just the latest to sprout up along the Innner Harbor, the former barge canal terminal that flows into Onondaga Lake.  Cuomo, who’s running for re-election this year, takes credit for projects like this, that bring jobs back to upstate, that were lost when manufacturers fled the area.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO
Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Syracuse to announce the new educational center

"The lake that was the symbol of the stain of the manufacturing era, is now the symbol of the shine of the new Syracuse economy,” said Cuomo. “What could be better?”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.