Thursday, Sep. 30, 2010
Leading researchers at Utah State University will soon occupy a new, state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research building on the USU Innovation Campus. The USTAR BioInnovations 650 building is nearing completion. A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony is scheduled Thursday, Oct. 7, at 1:30 p.m., at the building site, 650 E. Grand Avenue, North Logan. The public is welcome.
The 110,000-square-foot facility is designed to foster collaborative relationships among all USU life sciences researchers, industry and other higher education institutions. The university projects an initial occupancy date in December 2010.
The new USU USTAR building is a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold designated building. LEED, an internationally recognized green building certification system, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Final LEED certification will be conducted in October once construction is completed.
The building construction process is led by Project Managers from the State of Utah Department of Facilities Construction Management (DFCM), Gramoll Construction, AJC Architects and various management and research groups from Utah State University.
USTAR research has been conducted for the past four years in a neighboring USTAR facility at 620 E. Grand Avenue. The new building will triple the size of the existing USTAR Complex on the Innovation Campus.
“The USTAR initiative has helped focus USU’s research strengths since its inception in 2006,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “USU researchers have been complemented with the recruitment of nationally recognized colleagues. As we continue to bolster our research program in strategic areas, our potential to procure larger amounts of external funding increases. This building will help catalyze those efforts.”
The building will house the most advanced life sciences laboratory in the state and will provide researchers the resources to seek cures for a range of human and animal diseases. USTAR teams such as the Center for Advanced Nutrition, Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Disease, and the Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center will be the initial occupants.
The USTAR initiative has created teams that are actively recruiting new faculty members and researchers. At USU, 60 jobs have been created since USTAR began in 2006 and, most recently, an additional 40 jobs were created at the new Energy Dynamics Lab under the direction of the Utah State University Research Foundation.
USTAR’s economic impact at USU goes beyond the creation of 100 jobs. USTAR teams have filed 56 invention disclosures and 16 patents, one USTAR technology has been licensed, and one company has moved corporate headquarters to the USU Innovation Campus due to close ties with the USTAR Space Weather Center.
“USTAR has served as a jump start for industry and commercialization at USU,” said Albrecht. “Professors not actively involved in the USTAR program have benefitted and will continue to benefit from USTAR research.”
Other USTAR partnerships in Cache Valley are making an impact.
The Logan Lagoons project, a collaboration with EDL, USTAR and Logan City, is converting 460 acres of wastewater lagoons and 240 acres of wetlands to grow and cultivate algae. The algae biofuels will be used to run the city’s garbage trucks and will save the city of Logan $250,000 annually. If successful, the project will save the city from constructing a nearly $200 million treatment facility. Energy-focused projects like this one have brought in a $10 million congressionally directed Department of Energy grant.
“Progress on the USTAR BioInnovations building on the USU Innovation Campus has proceeded ahead of plan and within budget,” said Ted McAleer, USTAR executive director. “We look forward to the industry collaborations that will occur in the new facility that will benefit the citizens of Utah.”
The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) is a long-term, state-funded investment to strengthen Utah’s “knowledge economy” and generate high-paying jobs. Funded in March 2006 by the state legislature, USTAR is based on three program areas. The first area involves funding for strategic investments at the University of Utah and Utah State University to recruit world-class researchers. The second area is to build state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facilities at these institutions for the innovation teams. The third program area involves teams that work with companies and entrepreneurs across the state to promote science, innovation and commercialization activities.