The board of trustees at the Trudeau Institute announced Monday that the research facility will remain in Saranac Lake.
Late last year, rumors spread that officials with Trudeau were considering a move to North Carolina as part of a long-term strategic plan. Board members sat through a presentation Friday, during which a consultant group highlighted options for potential growth and expansion.
Following the presentation, trustees reportedly discussed Trudeau's future for about 10 hours, ultimately deciding to keep the biomedical research facility in Saranac Lake.
Dr. David Woodland is president of the Trudeau Institute. He said in a prepared statement that the facility is - quote - "committed to Saranac Lake and is dedicated to advancing biomedical research in the region."
"As we further develop our long-term plan focused on maintaining our status as a premier research organization, our goal is to continue to thrive in the Adirondacks while pushing the frontiers of biomedical science," Woodland said.
He also thanked the board of trustees for making what he called a swift decision.
In January, a number of state and federal lawmakers lobbied Trudeau to keep their operation in Saranac Lake. Woodland thanked those legislators for their offers of support.
"We intend to continue this important discussion with our elected officials as Trudeau needs the support of our federal and state government in order to grow while meeting our mission of improving human health," he
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was among those lawmakers who pleaded with Trudeau to remain in the North Country.
He said the board's decision is tremendous news.
"While this is bad news for influenza and other infectious diseases, it is just what the doctor ordered for those who work at Trudeau and the regional economy," Schumer said, noting that he will make good on his promise to bring in additional grant funding for research and development.
At the beginning of January, Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau pledged in his "State of the Village" report to do whatever it took to keep Trudeau in the village.
He joked Monday afternoon that he can now check one of his goals for 2011 off the list.
"We're very gratified," Rabideau said. "It's a tremendous reaffirmation and validation of the community of Saranac Lake. Just this past year, Trudeau Institute was named a top place to be for post-doctoral candidates and title holders. So to have them stay in Saranac Lake and grow and reaffirm their commitment to our community is very gratifying and a tremendous validation."
Democratic Representative Bill Owens says Trudeau's decision continues a promising trend throughout the North Country, as current employers redouble efforts to keep jobs in places like Massena and Malone, while other projects are creating work in places like Plattsburgh and Gouverneur.
"Things are moving along and we're just so excited that a business that's been so important to Saranac Lake is staying," Owens said.
Like Schumer, Owens says he'll work with his colleagues in Washington, D.C. to find additional grant funding for the facility.
State Senator Betty Little recently reached out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asking him to speak with leaders at the institute and make sure they understood the importance of the facility to the North Country and, by extension, the state of New York.
Little says this week's news is a great relief to many of the people she has spoken with over the past couple of months.
"Trudeau is an incredible institution that has an enormously positive impact on our region," she said. "I will do everything I can to ensure this institute remains at the forefront of biomedical research."
Dr. David Woodland says that while the decision was made to stay in Saranac Lake, the institute is still finalizing its growth plan. He notes that researchers need the tools to - quote - "adapt to the accelerating pace of biomedical research."
According to Woodland, officials at Trudeau will work with area officials and philanthropists to begin developing a long-term plan.
Last year, Trudeau spokesman Brian Turner said the institute employs more than 130 people.