Dr. Bushell Addresses Higher Education Forum

Dr. Bushell Delivers Keynote at Third Annual Commercial Observer Higher Education Construction Forum
Dr. Bushell delivers morning keynote address at Third Annual Commercial Observer Higher Education Construction Forum.
Delivers Morning Keynote at Third Annual Commercial Observer Higher Education Construction Forum

It is a pleasure to be here this morning representing the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), which serves as the bridge between New York State and its colleges and universities as their financier and builder.

We are in the infrastructure business – financing, designing, developing, and constructing social infrastructure for higher education and health care institutions. These include scientific and medical laboratories, life science centers, residence halls, and libraries.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has established an aggressive infrastructure program in New York, a $150 billion infrastructure plan for the next five years. This historic investment in New York's capital assets builds on the Governor's existing $100 billion infrastructure initiative.

This initiative will rebuild transportation and mass transit systems, construct safe and secure affordable housing, drive economic and community development, build new and better school buildings, create new environmental and park facilities, support our sustainable energy future, and generate new jobs and expand opportunity for all New Yorkers.

While the federal government continues to talk about infrastructure planning, New York is taking action! LaGuardia and JFK are being transformed into 21st century airports. The work to convert Penn Station and Moynihan Station into globally-renowned transportation gateways is underway. The Javits Center is expanding and becoming the city’s solar leader, with the single largest installation of rooftop solar panels in New York City.

DASNY is proud to support these important projects. They are major investments in our state’s infrastructure that are essential to the futures of our distinguished public and private colleges and universities. Health care and higher education are the new industrial engines driving our economy into the 21st century, and it is important for New York to be a center of excellence for these two important sectors.

For 75 years, DASNY has fostered social infrastructure projects throughout New York State. Take our longest standing partnership with one of our largest clients, the State University of New York (SUNY). This is an economic development engine, which DASNY helped finance and build into a 64-campus world-class higher education system. In fact, right here in Manhattan, we are working with SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology on a new academic building project, which will be an extension of the 27th Street campus. The facility will expand upon FIT’s commitment to research and entrepreneurship, creating a lasting footprint within the surrounding community, where FIT is renowned not only for its fashion, but innovation and inspiration.

DASNY has also established one of New York State’s most productive construction partnerships with The City University Construction Fund to provide design and construction management services to serve The City University of New York (CUNY) and its 24 campuses, the largest urban university system in the United States. At CUNY, we have more than 300 active projects with a construction value of more than $1.5 billion.

Our mandate also extends to the private, not-for-profit sector with Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Mt. Sinai, Rochester University to name a few. I could go on, but we have breadth. Each of our relationships play critical roles in economic expansion, and human capital development and care.

Today the model of a university is to be part of a larger community instead of just being a “university on the hill.” Campuses today are building new infrastructure to reflect that openness. They are realigning their missions to strengthen their roles as economic engines and members of the community.

At DASNY, we are seizing this opportunity to evolve and meet the needs of our campus partners. Through an internal initiative referred to as One DASNY, we are streamlining our processes and expanding our project service offerings, to better serve our clients.

We are promoting integration and collaboration across all divisions, presenting ourselves as a turn-key solution provider. We have increased the flow of information and the speed of decision-making, and deployed new technology. This has resulted in helping our clients meet their needs through the expansion of our financing, design, and construction project delivery methods.

At CUNY, for example, DASNY financed and built the premier Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) in Harlem, advancing the growth of a new, world-class life sciences research cluster that stretches from Northern Manhattan down to New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn. This all started when Governor Cuomo announced his groundbreaking $650 million life sciences initiative. ASRC is adjacent to a new, state-of-the-art science building at City College of New York, called the Center for Discovery and Innovation, which was also financed and built by DASNY. The two science facilities combine to a value of approximately $700 million.

ASRC is more than just an economic engine for the State. It is drawing students and professors to Harlem, and the research conducted there is generating innovation and will drive economic activity for decades to come. There are already incubators located in the neighborhoods to help establish spinoff projects and grow them into full-fledged companies.

What’s more, there are numerous ongoing infrastructure and sustainability enhancement projects happening at City College, which DASNY crews are working to support.

At the CUNY School of Medicine’s Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program, DASNY delivered a $12.6 million interior renovation project to create instructional office and specialized training space.

DASNY currently has 23 projects valued at approximately $56.9 million in design at Hunter College, including a new West Building Plaza, connection to the Baker Theater Building, and improvements to the Kaye Playhouse and North Building Main Auditorium.

Over at Queens College, DASNY has begun construction of the new $23.9 million Louis Armstrong Visitor’s Center near the restored Louis Armstrong House and Archives Museum in Corona, Queens, to augment the tour experience for visitors.

At Brooklyn College, DASNY delivered a new, $138 million student services building. Projects like these not only improve the lives of students; they generate economic multipliers and improve workforce development.

And later this year, DASNY will be issuing a procurement for the construction of a nursing education, research, and practice center at Lehman College. The new space will enable nursing students to train for real-world situations, such as trauma and labor and delivery, in a clinical environment.

On the private college side, when the esteemed St. John’s University, needed financing to provide savings and the ability to advance capital projects, it turned to DASNY. We are proud to support the university and its 148-year-legacy.  This is one of many solutions we provide.

DASNY was also there to provide financing for Touro College when it wanted to buy a 67,000 square foot building to house a new dormitory for its Lander College for Women. Now that building on West 59th Street, just blocks away from Touro’s academic headquarters, can house all the women’s college’s students, who were previously in two separate locations, under one single roof.

DASNY also supported Barnard College with financing when it underwent campus-wide renovation and maintenance projects.

At Fordham University, proceeds from a DASNY transaction enabled the university to acquire its first on-campus housing option for students at Fordham’s Lincoln Center location. This paid huge dividends for the community at large, transforming the commuter campus and enabling the college to attract students from beyond the five boroughs. The campus now serves first-year through graduate, as well as law students.

DASNY is also at the forefront of an important expansion project at Columbia University. Earlier this fiscal year, DASNY financed more than $325 million to complete various design, construction, and renovation projects, located throughout the University System, including on its Manhattanville Campus.

This financing provided additional space for academic and support services at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center for which DASNY issued $50 million in green bonds – that is, bonds specifically earmarked for climate and environmental projects – on Columbia’s behalf.

By providing capital for these projects, we are investing in doctors, scientists, and engineers who will drive innovation across New York State and the nation from inside Columbia’s walls for decades to come.

The Science Center houses The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, which builds on Columbia’s distinguished history in the study and treatment of the brain.

Governor Cuomo’s life sciences initiative helps support several projects essential to this state. From ASRC in Harlem to NYU in Manhattan, to the recently-announced $750 million New York State Life Sciences Public Health Laboratory in Albany’s Capital Region, this is the work of New York State.

DASNY will be overseeing the design and construction of the Life Sciences Lab project. The lab will function as a magnet for future private-sector investments, and is expected to attract approximately 1,200 life sciences jobs and generate about $2.3 billion in economic activity for the region over the life of the project.

We will be utilizing the faster alternative-delivery method design-build for this project, which will be the highest value project in DASNY history. We also have authorization to use design-build in our SUNY portfolio.

Using design-build, both design and construction services are provided through a single contract to expedite project delivery and provide savings, while maintaining a high level of quality. DASNY is continually striving for more in terms of efficiency and savings.

Last summer, we successfully delivered a $24 million, 263-bed design-build residence hall at SUNY Brockport in upstate New York. The construction of Eagle Hall was completed within 13 months.

One of the things the Brockport project demonstrated is that alternative delivery helps to support equity and inclusion. We are better enabled to incorporate goals in procurement and general conditions to advance Minority, Women, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE/SDVOB) goals earlier, building them into the contracting and delivery process.

Our MWBE goals on SUNY Brockport reached 32 percent, exceeding the Cuomo administration’s benchmark goal of 30 percent for all state agencies and authorities on all state contracts. Inclusion is at the core of what we do. DASNY exceeded this goal because we integrated it earlier in the process.

Working with MWBE firms and hiring minorities, women and veterans strengthens our market position, which in turn creates competition and lowers costs.

At SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, we will be using the design-build method for a $27.8 million, 257-bed residence hall.

The SUNY Poly Utica project, which is expected to break ground in May will be financed through DASNY’s SUNY Dormitory Facilities Program, which issues low-cost, tax-exempt bonds supported by student residence hall fees.

This residence hall will be constructed as “zero-net energy-ready.” This means in addition to meeting or exceeding existing energy codes, the infrastructure for future energy performance systems will already be in place. Once these systems are installed, the building will use equal or less energy than it can produce annually. It will be self-supporting.

We are excited to work with SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina M. Johnson as she moves to retrofit and renovate the entire SUNY system to achieve greater energy savings, supporting the Governor’s statewide clean energy goals.

As an extension, DASNY, in concert with SUNY, is collaborating with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to construct a design-build, zero-net energy-ready retrofit residence hall project at SUNY Oneonta. This retrofit will be a model for future sustainable residence hall renovations throughout the SUNY system. The project is set to begin in the summer of 2020.

No matter what the project, DASNY brings an intentionality to sustainability and resiliency, and works to make sure whether it is through financing or construction, our buildings are outfitted with the most up-to-date technology.

In our efforts to do more for our clients, we are expanding our energy performance contracting offerings. Now clients can pay for needed facility improvements with the energy savings generated from these upgrades.

DASNY’s new program, for which we are currently reviewing procurement proposals, will help DASNY clients reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs.

We recognize the higher education and health care sectors are continuously evolving, and so must we. DASNY is always looking for innovative solutions that are meaningful for our clients and continually searching for new ways, new technologies to enhance our product delivery and maximize results.

By doing so, we provide a higher level of service for our partners in higher education, helping them deliver more opportunities for their students. We are developing world-class centers for scientific research and transforming health care delivery.

Together we are creating stronger communities that are more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive. Together we are building a better New York.

Thank you.