UMass Dartmouth officials broke ground today for a major new laboratory facility that will dramatically expand the university's research capability, which has already grown from $7 million to more than $17 million in annual activity over the last five years.
"This new research facility will be a major asset in the university's effort to expand its research enterprise, which is so critical to the development of the southeastern Massachusetts innovation economy," Chancellor MacCormack said. "The activities in this building will also enhance teaching as the discoveries that will take place here are sure to excite and inspire students. Above all, however, this building will represent an investment in the ability of our faculty to change the world through the creation of new knowledge."
The 20,000 square foot, $9 million facility will be two stories high and be an extension of the Violette Building. Scheduled to open in September, 2006 it will house the work of Dr. Bal Ram Singh, whose team is collaborating with Tufts University on a $17.5 million National Institutes of Health-funded effort to combat botulism, one the biggest bio-terrorism threats faced by the United States. Dr. Singh is also collaborating with Harvard University, the Natick Soldier Center, and the Department of Defense in his research. Dr. Singh’s work will take up one floor of the facility while yet-to-be-named research efforts will be located on the other floor.
Joining Chancellor MacCormack at the ceremony was UMass President Jack M. Wilson; UMass Board of Trustees Chairman James J. Karam, UMass Trustee Dennis Austin, UMass Dartmouth Student Trustee Brian Silver; state Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), state Sen. Joan Menard (D-Fall River), and state Rep. John Quinn (D-Dartmouth) and Town of Dartmouth Selectman Robert Carney.
The building, which will be financed with bonding by the UMass Building Authority, will be built by Suffolk Construction. The architect on the project is Architectural Resources Cambridge
In the past five years, UMass Dartmouth has undergone dramatic physical growth with the opening of a 1,200-bed student housing complex this year, the Charlton College of Business building last year; and the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center in Fall River; College of Visual an Performing Arts in New Bedford; and continuing education centers Fall River and New Bedford.