In the race to win the bid to build New York City’s Silicon Island East, it was Cornell and Stanford in a dead heat, and it was anyone’s guess as to who Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration would pick to head up the East Coast’s future preeminent school of applied sciences. Then, when Stanford dropped out just a few days ago, rumors started flying around the airwaves, and now it’s all but confirmed that Cornell will get the nod, the plot on Roosevelt Island, the nearly $400 million in New York City funding and infrastructure, and the chance to be the school on the cutting edge of New York City’s technology development future.

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Cornell’s plan is to build a sprawling campus on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island that will be anchored by a core “net zero” building powered by solar and geothermal energy. Their cornerstone building will be built to house the Cornell and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology partnership and will be home to the next great thinkers in the technology world. The solar array planned for the campus will generate 1.8 megawatts of energy at its peak performance and would be the largest solar array in New York City if built today. The core academic building is seeking a LEED platinum score and might well make it there with its massive sunlight harvesting windows and efficient ventilation system. The building will be 30% more efficient than other buildings of its size and Cornell made a note to mention that they are used to building green — the buildings on their Ithaca campus are already quite efficient themselves.

Stanford is said to have dropped out of the competition due to requirements laid down by the City of New York during discussions of the competition. Cornell was happy to accept the requirements — having already built their medical school in the City, they were used to the stipulations — and at almost the same moment that Stanford bowed out, Ithaca-based Cornell announced a private $350 million donation to the campus. The donation was said to ease the fears the Bloomberg administration had about the announcement and pushed them to make it official earlier than expected — they were originally going to hold it off until the new year. The Cornell administration is gearing up to make this announcement a great end to 2011 with a live webcast announcement to take place at 2:30 this afternoon.