Campus unveils Technology Building

Mayor Byron Brown, second from left, joined interim President Howard Cohen and dozens of other faculty and students on Thursday to mark the official opening of the new Technology Building, which began hosting classes this semester.

Andrea Rongo/The Record

Mayor Byron Brown, second from left, joined interim President Howard Cohen and dozens of other faculty and students on Thursday to mark the official opening of the new Technology Building, which began hosting classes this semester.

Buffalo State held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the opening of the new Technology Building.

The 87,000 square-foot facility includes new state-of-the-art equipment for fashion and textile technology, computer information systems and engineering technology.

The ribbon ceremony included a few speeches made by Buffalo State representatives as well as a few elected officials. Many students, faculty and alumni came out to the celebration, including interim President Howard Cohen.

“We should think of this not so much as a building, but as a learning environment,” Cohen said. “It’s going to allow for great collaboration spaces where students can work with one another and work with their faculty. It’s going to allow for spaces of applied research where faculty and students can take the things they’ve been learning and turn them into the kind of work that will benefit all of us in the long run.”

The Technology Building reinforces Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s innovation agenda with the use of smart-grid labs and updated equipment.

In a press statement, Cuomo said the new building will help better prepare and train students for future jobs while encouraging innovation and new businesses in Western New York.

“Buffalo State’s new Technology Building is a significant investment that builds on the high standards of SUNY and enhances what our schools have to offer to students, faculty, and our partners in the private sector,” Cuomo said.

The new equipment used in the different departments will allow students to gain knowledge in the field they will enter once they graduate.

Students will be able to work on and experience using machines such as a 3D printer, a fabric printer, computer labs, a knit lab and a professional fitting room.

“It’s more realistic,” Lynn Boorady, chair and associate professor of the fashion and textile technology department, said. “Students will gain a certain respect in the industry for using the equipment. We want to raise the bar from other schools by having this facility.”

Kelsey Bashore, a senior fashion and textiles student, gave a brief speech during the ribbon-cutting ceremony as the student representative. She spoke of how the students are very thankful and excited to be able to continue their studies in a place that was designed for their benefit.

“Quality learning environments such as the one before us today create an atmosphere of welcoming, letting the students know that we are valued and help us embrace in our studies,” Bashore said.

The building will serve as not only a place for students, but faculty and industry partners, as well. It will be a place where everyone can come together and collaborate to create new thoughts and ideas.

Rita Zientek, interim dean of the school of professions at Buffalo State, said that the Technology Building will be a place where students will be transformed through academic excellence and where all research is encouraged.

It will be a place where students will learn to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

“It’s a place that teaches 21st century skills so it teaches innovation, creativity, teamwork, and entrepreneurship,” Zientek said. “This is a place where fashion shows are designed; mini Baja cars are created, where latest ideas and research are discussed, related to smart grids, STEM initiatives for teacher development, computer security, collaborative manufacturing and information technology.”

Closing out the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Byron Brown spoke about the future of Buffalo State and how the Technology Building will only improve it. He said that the facility will serve as a major area of recruitment for potential students.

“This is a place that attracts young people from across the state, across the nation and this building will help Buffalo State be even more effective in recruiting young minds to this community,” Brown said. “Today we celebrate not only the opening of this building but the opportunities that it creates for the students and staff who are committed to academic excellence.”

The Technology Building was designed by The SLAM Collaborative and was constructed by LPCiminelli and general contractor ManningSquiresHennig Co. Inc.

Construction for the project began in the summer of 2011 and ended this summer.

The total cost was under budget at $36.5 million through the SUNY Construction Fund.

Aside from all of the new equipment in the classrooms, the building contains 221 rooftop solar panels and a 5,060 square-foot vegetated green roof on the lower roof.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiled the Technology Building in its infancy. Students will be able to gain experience before going out into the work field and collaborate with faculty to create new designs and concepts.

“We’re looking forward to working out all the kinks,” Boorady said. “And making the best use of the facilities to help educate our students.”

Lauren Coppola can be reached by email at [email protected] or by twitter at @lcoppola92.