Earth Day Brings Groundbreaking for $130 Million USTAR Interdisciplinary Research Facility at University of Utah
April 22, 2009 - The University of Utah (UofU) and the USTAR Governing Authority today marked Earth Day at the groundbreaking for a $130 million sustainably designed interdisciplinary research facility, the first of four planned buildings on the university's campus aimed at attracting some of the world's most internationally recognized faculty and fueling Utah's economic development activity.
The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building - a USTAR Innovation Center, is being funded through a $100-million commitment from the state of Utah along with private gifts, among them $15 million from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and $1.25 million from the Micron Technology Foundation. "We are pleased that the building will bear the name of one of Utah's most innovative and successful biomedical pioneers, James LeVoy Sorenson," said Michael K. Young, University of Utah president.
State funding comes from the USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) initiative, a long-term economic development initiative that promotes world-class research facilities and research teams. USTAR will create new technologies that can be commercialized, generating more technology-based start-up firms, higher paying jobs and additional business activity all aimed at expanding Utah's tax base.
The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building - a USTAR Innovation Center, which is targeting LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, has been designed by architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent's Atlanta office in association with Prescott Muir Architects in Salt Lake City.
A New Era of Interdisciplinary Translational Research
"The building site both physically and academically unites the health sciences with main campus. Through the USTAR initiative we are crossing traditional boundaries to accelerate research at the interfaces of medicine, pharmacy, engineering, computer science and life sciences," said Dinesh Patel, managing director at vSpring Capital and chairman of the USTAR Governing Authority.
The 200,000-square-foot building will support 25 senior faculty researchers, plus junior faculty, administrative and laboratory personnel. The building will house both flexible, open-bench research laboratories as well as four specialty core research facilities for small animal imaging, biomedical microscopy, engineering microscopy, and nano-fabrication. Open lab space will have adjacent closed equipment rooms and nearby office space for the principal investigators. The flexible laboratories and their core support labs are designed to support the collaboration of scientists in many disciplines with the most sophisticated scientific tools and equipment.
The high-tech facility will set a high standard for sustainable design by creating an energy efficient building that will reduce both energy use and energy costs from current laboratory code requirements by a minimum of 40 percent. Among the strategies used to achieve this are daylighting that will allow natural light to reach at least 75 percent of the building's occupied spaces, and the use of sunshades to modulate the quality and intensity of light as it enters the building at different times and different angles throughout the year.
Benchmarks of Progress
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