ALBANY — In a change of plans, President Obama will go to the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering when he visits the Capital Region on Tuesday, according to a White House official.
Obama was to have gone to GlobalFoundries in Malta, the company building a $4.6 billion computer chip factory — known as Fab 8 — that started production earlier this year.
According to the White House, the change was made for logistical reasons, but GlobalFoundries will still participate in the NanoCollege event.
GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said Friday afternoon that after two days of meeting with Obama's advance team at the Fab 8 site, the decision was made that for several reasons the NanoCollege was a better fit.
Fab 8 is about a 20- to 25-minute drive from Albany International Airport going north on the Northway, while the NanoCollege is about 10 minutes away.
Parking at the GlobalFoundries site also was a concern, along with being able to get people in and out of the site. At big events that have been held at Fab 8, the company has bussed people in from other locations.
Fab 8 is also still considered an active construction site with a new administration building going up.
And because computer chip factories maximize the space they use for making chips in the ultra-clean manufacturing room, there are no large public spaces in the building where Obama could have held his event.
"It's a secure site," Bullard said. "We're a production facility."
Despite not being able to host Obama, GlobalFoundries is still very excited about being involved in the President's talk on advanced manufacturing and the growing technology hub in the Capital Region.
"We're very involved in the event," Bullard said. "We're looking forward to President Obama's visit."
NanoCollege officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
It is expected that at the NanoCollege, Obama will also mention other U.S. semiconductor companies that have a role in the growing local tech sector, including IBM, Intel and Applied Materials. They all have a large presence at the school.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also will join the President at Tuesday's event.
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