January 12, 2007
By: by Larry Rulison, Business Writer, Times Union
ALBANY -- Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s computer chip factory planned for Saratoga County will be located within the Ballston Spa Central School District.
So it was with great anticipation that a group of 30 teachers, guidance counselors and administrators visited the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Wednesday afternoon to learn exactly what AMD planned to do with the $3.2 billion it plans to spend on the factory.
The college is home to the Albany NanoTech complex, a $3.5 billion nanotechnology research center that is exploring ways to build the next generation of computer chip manufacturing equipment.
The complex is a major reason why AMD chose to locate its next factory in Malta at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
UAlbany officials were trying to show district leaders just what their students can look forward to in their future for employment and research opportunities.
The school officials toured NanoFab 300 North, a 228,000-square-foot building at the college that includes 35,000 square feet of clean room space used to research cutting-edge computer chip tools.
Michael Fancher, director of economic outreach for Albany NanoTech, said the facility would give them a taste of what the AMD plant would be like.
"This facility (is) very much like what they are going to build there, but their facility will be five times larger," he said.
AMD is planning to build a 1.2 million-square-foot facility that will employ 1,200 people and is expected to create thousands of other construction and related high-tech jobs with vendors and suppliers.
Shawn Brinton, a seventh-grade science teacher in the district, said he volunteered for the tour and thinks AMD will have a big impact on the community, especially with jobs and possibly internships.
"I encourage our students to take advantage of all the technology that comes in," he said. "It seems very promising, and they're excited about it. I sure hope we can make a lot of partnerships with these companies."
His wife, Laura, is a sixth-grade math teacher in the district. She noted that AMD's presence also will require non-technology jobs.
"You need a mail room," she said. "You need someone to run your 401(k). We're very happy; we think it's a wonderful opportunity."
Alain Kaloyeros, chief administrative officer of the college, said the tour was more about creating educational and training partnerships with local school districts than showcasing AMD. The college has been leading that effort along with the state and other schools like Hudson Valley Community College to train students and workers for AMD and other semiconductor companies that might want to locate in the Capital Region.
"It's a very critical component of what we do, AMD or no AMD," Kaloyeros said. "But it's timely because of AMD. With the AMD announcement, it adds a sense of urgency."
Travis Bullard, an AMD spokesman, said the Sunnyvale, Calif., company already has had introductory meetings with district Superintendent Raymond Colucciello and the school board.
"The purpose was to make introductions, educate them on AMD and for us to learn more about their district and needs," he said. "We'll continue to stay in touch."
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