Saratoga County

HVCC center to be ready by 2009-10

A Hudson Valley Community College workforce training building at the Saratoga Technology and Ener

PHOTOGRAPHER:

A Hudson Valley Community College workforce training building at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park could be ready for occupancy in late 2009 or early 2010, the new program’s executive director said Tuesday.

The college’s TEC-SMART initiative will train students to work in the clean energy field, and also at computer semiconductor manufacturers like Advanced Micro Devices.

“We see a really great partnership with AMD. We see that as being crucial,” TEC-SMART Executive Director Joseph T. Sarubbi said in a report to the town Planning Board.

AMD is in the process of planning for a $3.2 billion computer chip factory in the Luther Forest Technology Campus, next door to the STEP park. The factory would employ up to 1,465 people, AMD officials have said, and a spokesman has called local workforce training crucial.

Plans for a semiconductor technician training center run by Hudson Valley have been known since last fall, when state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, announced the award of $13.5 million in state funding.

The STEP park, owned by the state Energy Research and Development Authority, is a 280-acre site for development of clean-fuel and alternative energy technologies. The HVCC building is the third announced project for the park.

Currently, Sarubbi said the state Dormitory Authority, which will provide the financing, is soliciting interest from architects willing to design the building, which would have classrooms and laboratories.

“We’re hoping in the next couple of months to get out a formal request for proposals,” he said.

Building design and construction would follow, with Sarubbi saying late 2009-early 2010 is his goal for opening the building. The building would be between 30,000 and 40,000 square feet, and include a clean room for training semiconductor manufacturing technicians.

Clean rooms are where computer chips are made, called that because of the near-sterile conditions maintained in them to avoid contamination of the tiny electrical circuits.

AMD, while it hasn’t made a final commitment to build the plant, has outlined a construction schedule that would see chip production starting in 2011-2012, with employment ramping up for several more years after that.

“If I can train 50 to 75 technicians a year over a few years, that translates into hundreds,” Sarubbi said.

TEC-SMART’s facilities will expand a small semiconductor technician training program established at the Troy-based college three years ago.

But, in addition to training technicians for the computer industry, TEC-SMART would also train workers for the fast-growing alternative energy fields, such as installing photovoltaic cell solar electric systems, building and maintaining wind power and geothermal systems, Sarubbi said.

New York State Energy and Research Development Authority officials strongly support the effort.

“We are developing clean energy companies. This will provide the trained work force for those clean energy industries,” said Robert Callender, vice president for programs at NYSERDA.

The STEP park is currently nearing completion of its first new building, a 105,000-square-foot building that will have a number of tenants, including a manufacturing facility for advanced polymer company Starfire Systems.

NYSERDA project manager Kevin Hunt said the first small office-based tenants should be moving into the building soon, with Starfire — which will occupy about half the building — moving last, after its manufacturing space has been set up. Starfire currently rents space in a previously existing building at the STEP park.

There are also plans for a Department of Environmental Conservation vehicle emissions testing laboratory at the park. Callender said the timing of that project is still be worked out.

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