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The University of Arkansas is in the process of constructing what is expected to become the region's leading nanoscale research center. The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Building has an estimated initial cost of $37 million, although estimates for the completed facility are as high as $50 million.
The state of Arkansas has committed $5.5 million in General Improvement Funds, as released by Gov. Mike Beebe, for construction of the building. The university will use $16 million raised from state higher education bonds and is applying for additional funding from the National Institute of Science and Technology. The university also plans to raise $15.5 million from a combination of additional bonds, amortized with private funds, as well as through additional fundraising dollars.
The three-story facility will be built in phases, with the exterior of the building scheduled to be completed and a portion of it occupied by fall 2010. Additional phases of the building's interior will be constructed as the funding becomes available.
The building occupies a central location on campus so that it will be easily accessible to faculty and student researchers. It will consolidate all the nanoscale equipment on campus. Nanoscale research is interdisciplinary, involving faculty and students from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences departments of physics, chemistry, biology; the College of Engineering and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.
The University of Arkansas is currently the leading producer of nanoscale materials to the world's research institutions. The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Building will emphasize both innovation and the practical application of nanoscale materials. It has the potential of creating new businesses and industry in Arkansas, as well as attracting high technology operations to the state.
Chancellor Gearhart has noted that between 1989 and 2006 Arkansas produced 166,000 people with bachelor's degrees but that a significant number of them left the state. The purpose of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Building is to produce more highly skilled graduates, establish Arkansas as a regional leader in nanoscience and attract the kinds of businesses that will keep these graduates in Arkansas and grow the state's economy.
About University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas, the state's flagship university, resides on 345 picturesque acres overlooking the Ozark Mountains. For nearly 150 years, it has been at the center of higher education in the state of Arkansas, and recently has moved to the center of higher education in the nation. Never before in the university's history have its students and faculty been more academically accomplished, its facilities more sophisticated, or its research efforts more inclusive. All indicators of academic success are at record highs and climbing. The university's nearly 19,000 students come from every county in Arkansas and some 100 nations, and they have nearly 200 academic programs in which to study. Through the integration of teaching, research and service that puts students first, the University of Arkansas is taking its place among the nation's great comprehensive academies.
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Steve Voorhies, manager, media relations
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