"With the additions of this new building and several faculty positions funded under FSU's 'Pathways of Excellence' initiative, we will be among the nation's best research centers in advanced composites."
FSU breaks ground on groundbreaking building
By Barry Ray
With the ceremonial scooping of several shovelfuls of dirt, Florida State University has broken ground on a new facility that could vault FSU to the top of the list of American universities specializing in the research of new materials.
Artist's rendering of Materials Research Building
FSU administrators, joined by Tallahassee-area economic development officials, celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Materials Research Building in Tallahassee's Innovation Park on Monday, May 21.
"With the additions of this new building and several faculty positions funded under FSU's 'Pathways of Excellence' initiative, we will be among the nation's best research centers in advanced composites," said Kirby Kemper, vice president of Research at FSU. "This truly marks the beginning of the next generation of lightweight, high-performance composite materials."
The $17 million building, which is scheduled to be ready by fall 2008, will be a two-story, 44,000-square-foot facility that houses 13 laboratories for the design, processing and characterization of advanced materials and systems. When completed, it will house FSU's Center of Excellence in Advanced Materials, which was established in November 2006 through a $4 million grant from the State University System's Board of Governors.
The new facility also will be the first LEED-certified building to be constructed by FSU. LEED, short for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally responsible buildings.
"Working closely with many industrial partners, our research will benefit the aerospace, auto, defense, electronics and wind-energy industries by providing lightweight, safe, energy-efficient and cost-effective composite systems," said Ben Wang, the Simon Ostrach Professor of Engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering and director of the Center of Excellence in Advanced Materials.
"This building also will provide the resources for us to provide work-force training to attract industry and create jobs in the area," Wang said.
The new Materials Research Building will be located on Levy Avenue, adjacent to FSU's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Applied Superconductivity Center and Center for Advanced Power Systems, as well as the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The new building's proximity to those facilities is seen as one of the advantages of the location.
"Materials research, by its very nature, is multidisciplinary, involving basic sciences such as chemistry and physics, as well as various branches of engineering," Kemper said. "Building the new research facility in an area where so much cutting-edge work already is taking place will provide a healthy environment for the sharing of new ideas and approaches."
Even before the establishment of the Center of Excellence in Advanced Materials, FSU already was recognized for the innovative efforts of several facilities devoted to materials science. Among them:
"When you add all of our various research components together, it's clear that FSU is reaching critical mass in the field of materials science," Kemper said. "Once the new Materials Research Building is complete, I believe we'll be recognized as one of, if not the, preeminent university in the nation in this critical area of research."