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City Council Gives Approval To Cornell Tech Campus On Roosevelt Island

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A major educational development project is moving forward, and it will make a big impact among its new neighbors on Roosevelt Island. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Cornell's new Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island took a big step forward when the City Council gave its official seal of approval Wednesday.

"This is a truly revolutionary project, and this is a step towards getting that revolutionary project off the ground," said Dan Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell NYC Tech.

The high-tech school will cover 12 acres, home to thousands of graduate students along with startup businesses.

As part of the Council's approval, Cornell made a series of commitments to the Roosevelt Island community, including air monitoring during the project. Cornell will adopt P.S./I.S. 217 on the Island, and beginning this summer, will sponsor programs for students.

"We're really thrilled they're adopting the school on Roosevelt Island, specifically to help with the middle-school math and science curriculum," said Manhattan City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014, with classes starting there in 2017. Everything won't be completed until 2037.

Cornell and city officials say that much of the heavy construction material will be barged to the island to reduce traffic on its only street by as much as half.

"I'm pleased to see that they started to look really creatively at our needs so that we could have the most possible reduction of truck traffic along our Main Street," said one resident.

Not all agree.

"They're going to barge, but it won't be enough," said one resident.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, a state agency, still needs to approve parts of the project.

Some residents are skeptical and are worried about its impact on their environment and community.

"Causes air pollution, noise pollution, damage to the infrastructure," said one resident.

But most NY1 spoke with were supportive.

"I think this will bring more of a community sense to it, maybe infusing a little younger vibe from all the Cornell kids or just the techie world," said one resident.

While groundbreaking is still months away, Cornell is already holding classes at Google's offices in Chelsea. They plan to ramp up their course offerings during the next three years, even before they're on Roosevelt Island.

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