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Research Parks RoundUp

November 03, 2010

Often credited with contributing significant revenue to states' economies, research parks also house facilities for workforce training and provide resources for tech-based industries, which is especially important as the nation's employment begins to pick up steam. In West Virginia, officials are building a $15 million advanced technology-training center at the state-owned research and technology park, and in Utah, officials recently broke ground on a building that will house engineers and analysts working on the nation's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program.

The West Virginia Education Research and Technology Park is slated to receive $12 million in federal stimulus funds from Gov. Joe Manchin's office, which will be used for renovations and operations, reports The Charleston Gazette. The state Higher Education Policy Commission will take over the research park in December with plans to build a $15 million advanced technology training center. Earlier this year, Battelle Memorial Institute won a $400,000 contract to provide recommendations on how to best develop the new park.

Plans are underway to develop 32 acres near the University of Minnesota into a science park to support research and technology commercialization. The Minnesota Science Park would be located near the university's Biomedical Discovery District at a cost of about $750 million, according to the Star Tribune. Preliminary plans include 700,000 sq. ft. of research space. The park also would feature a 60,000 square-foot Minnesota Accelerator designed to convert university biomedical discoveries into startup companies.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Exploration Park, a science and technology commerce park at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, took place over the summer with plans to open in 2012. The park's first facility is the Space Life Sciences Laboratory, which will host aerospace-related R&D activities for commercial, civil and military tenants, according to media reports. Phase I of the project is expected to include eight new buildings totaling 315,000 sq. ft.

The University of Louisville Foundation is spearheading a project to develop a former Kentucky Trailer property into a $1.1 billion research center, reports the Courier-Journal. The University of Louisville Research Park will include nine R&D buildings and five incubator and research support offices, according to the article.

University of Mississippi officials broke ground earlier this year on Insight Park, a research park scheduled for completion next summer. The research park, which includes a 12,000 sq. ft. incubator, will capitalize on four clusters of existing research expertise, including health care, information management, defense and security, and remote sensing technology.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley participated in a groundbreaking for the second phase of a robotics technology park at Calhoun Community College earlier this year, reports the Associated Press. Phase II will be designed for robotics R&D and feature a test facility for companies in the robotics manufacturing industry. The park is expected to open in November.

Officials broke ground last month on the first building of the $1.4 billion Falcon Hill research park in Utah, which is expected to generate 15,000 new aerospace and defense contractor jobs when completed, reports Deseret News. The research park, first announced in 2008, makes use of a new military program called enhanced-use lease and is the largest of its type planned by the Air Force, according to the article. The project will take several decades to complete and will become government property after 50 years.

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center was named 2010 Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks as part of their annual awards announced in September.

Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia, West Virginiar&d