InfraDay East Forum Welcomes Dr. Bushell

Dr. Bushell Delivers Remarks at InfraDay East Conference in NYC
Dr. Bushell Delivers Remarks at InfraDay East Conference in NYC.

Good morning.

I am privileged to be here today, alongside my peers, to share with you who we are and what we do. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) is in the infrastructure business. We finance, design, develop and construct social infrastructure for higher education and health care institutions throughout New York State.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it a priority to invest in infrastructure as it is key to creating good jobs and the foundation for a strong economy.  Under his leadership, New York State has become an epicenter for infrastructure projects, reaffirming our position as a vital contributor to this great nation. The Governor’s program is an aggressive one: $150 billion over the next five years, building upon his existing $100 billion infrastructure initiative.

You heard from my colleague, Rick Cotton, from the Port Authority earlier. Our airports are the gateways to the global economy, which is why LaGuardia and JFK are being transformed into 21st century terminals. 

New York is also investing in our mass transit systems. The work to convert Penn Station and Moynihan Station into globally-renowned transportation gateways is underway. This administration’s historic investment in New York's capital assets will rebuild the state’s aging bridges, tunnels, and roadways. This in turn will help our citizens and enable more business and nonprofit organizations, like our hospitals and universities, to prosper and fulfill their missions.

DASNY is proud to work alongside New York State’s Empire State Development to support these vital initiatives. DASNY complements these services, financing, designing and building solid foundations for New York’s health care and higher education institutions that are focused on human capital development and human care.

Our Work with SUNY

Today, New York’s higher education institutions educate more than 1.2 million students. Our longest standing partnership is with our first client, the State University of New York (SUNY). SUNY’s annual economic impact on the state is approximately $30 billion a year.

When DASNY was founded in 1944, it was to finance and build dormitories at 11 State Teachers’ Colleges – the first in Buffalo. Now, Buffalo State has grown to become the largest comprehensive four-year college in the SUNY system educating nearly 10-thousand students each year.

Buffalo State is a primary economic engine in Western New York, delivering more than $680 million in total economic impact and accounting for a larger share of the area’s economy than the Buffalo Bills or Buffalo Sabres. The tens of thousands of graduates who remain in the area provide a significant return on investment to the state.

Right here in Manhattan, we are working with SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) 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.

Our work with CUNY

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. CUNY has grown over the course of our 53-year partnership to become the largest urban university system in the United States. The university system is recognized as a national leader in helping generations of low-income, underserved and immigrant students achieve their higher education and career goals.

CUNY is our largest partner and has recently placed a greater reliance upon our capability to deliver – so we have allocated more resources to them. We have more than 300 active projects with a construction value of in excess of $1.5 billion and have increased staffing levels in this area to expand our capacity.

DASNY currently has 23 projects valued at approximately $57 million in design at Hunter College in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, including a new West Building Plaza, connection to the Baker Theater Building, and improvements to the Kaye Playhouse and North Building Main Auditorium.

We are in the final stages of a $122 million project to restore the façade and entryway at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, which educates and supports more than 50 thousand New Yorkers each year. A Stanford University Study on student-mobility rates prepared for the Chronicle of Higher Education puts LaGuardia in the Top 5 nationally among two-year colleges, moving low-income earners into the middle class and beyond.

And later this year, DASNY will be issuing a procurement for the construction of a three-story, 50,000 square-foot nursing education, research, and practice center at Lehman College in the Bronx. The new laboratory space will enable nursing students to train with state-of-the-art technology for real-world situations, such as trauma and labor and delivery, in a clinical environment.

Our private-sector work

Our mandate also extends to the private, not-for-profit sector with Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, the New School, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Mt. Sinai, to name a few.

A few blocks North of here on the West side of the park, Fordham University came to DASNY when it wanted to create a footprint in Manhattan. It already had its Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx.  DASNY’s financing helped the university transform two-city blocks in Manhattan after acquiring its first on-campus housing option for students at its 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 continually refining its processes, and is promoting a culture of continuous improvement across all service areas.  On behalf of our private clients, we amended our financing processes, refocusing the program and making it predictable, efficient, fast, and flexible, while accounting for and managing risk. We applied many of our process modifications to a $685 million tax-exempt/taxable financing performed on behalf of the Montefiore Health System, which operates in the Bronx, Westchester County, and the lower Hudson Valley. We term this a “hybrid” financing structure. We work with institutions like Montefiore to fulfill their missions and provide them with financial flexibility. Increasingly, hospitals and universities are partnering with the business community and need private-use space within their facilities. DASNY’s hybrid financing structure provides them opportunities to do so.

In addition, Catholic Health System of Western New York just financed $180 million through us to renovate and expand its facilities, giving patients in Western New York increased access to quality health care.

DASNY issued $593 million on behalf of New York University (NYU) last year, $349 million of which was offered as a tax-exempt series and a $244 million taxable series. Like Montefiore Health System, taking advantage of the hybrid financing structure provided NYU with greater efficiency, as well as future flexibility for private use through the issuance of taxable bonds.

DASNY’s role in New York State’s life sciences initiative

DASNY’s reach also extends far beyond dormitories.

For example, DASNY is a key player in Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking life sciences initiative, which is helping support several projects which are essential to this state, including the recently-announced $750 million New York State Life Sciences Public Health Laboratory in Albany’s Capital Region. A request for qualifications for this project is being released. You will be able to find that on our website, DASNY dot org.

DASNY will be overseeing the design and construction of the NYS Life Sciences Lab project, which will function as a magnet for future private-sector investments. It 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.

This builds upon the life sciences cluster that began in Harlem, home of CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center, which was financed and built by DASNY, the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus for which DASNY issued $50 million in green bonds on Columbia’s behalf, and Northern Manhattan down to New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn.

We will be utilizing the faster alternative-delivery method design-build for the Life Science’s project. 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.

Equity & Inclusion

Alternative delivery methods such as design-build help support equity and inclusion. By incorporating our Minority, Women, and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE/SDVOB) goals earlier and building them into the contracting and delivery process, we increase our participation.

We reached 32 percent MWBE participation when we successfully delivered a $24 million, 263-bed design-build residence hall at SUNY Brockport in western New York last summer, exceeding the Cuomo administration’s benchmark goal of 30 percent for state agencies and authorities on all state contracts. DASNY exceeded this goal because we integrated it earlier in the process. We also completed construction on that project in 13 months.

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

Our Energy-savings Work

DASNY is also playing an active role in helping deliver on the state’s energy goals by expanding our energy performance contracting offerings, enabling clients to pay for needed facility improvements with the energy savings generated from these upgrades.

DASNY’s new energy-saving program, for which we currently have an open procurement, will enable us to offer a turn-key solution to both public and private clients to finance, design, and build capital projects that save energy through a combination of DASNY’s Tax-Exempt Equipment Leasing Program, (TELP), as well as its procurement and construction services.

Consistent with our focus on reducing energy usage and costs, we broke ground last week at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica to construct a “zero-net carbon-certified” $33.5 million, 257-bed residence hall. This means in addition to exceeding existing energy codes, the infrastructure for future energy performance systems will already be in place. Once these systems are connected, the building will use equal to or less energy than it can produce annually. It will be self-supporting.

We are delighted 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.

We are also working with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to construct a design-build, zero-net carbon-ready retrofit residence hall project at SUNY Oneonta. This retrofit will be a model for future sustainable residence hall renovations throughout the SUNY system. A request for qualifications has been issued – you can find it on DASNY dot org. 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.

DASNY is intentionally looking to have greater impact. Together with our partners, we are demonstrating leadership in innovation, leadership in equity and inclusion, and leadership in social impact and growth.

This is how DASNY is going to serve New York for the next 75 years – by offering solutions when challenges arise.

Thank you.