Governor Announces New Advanced Science Building at UIC

Gov. Pat Quinn announced today that the State of Illinois has released $64 million for the new Advanced Chemical Technology Building at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a project that will strengthen biotechnology research in Illinois and bolster the state’s economy.

The Advanced Chemical Technology Building (ACTB) will house select UIC faculty from chemistry, biology and physics and support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research focused on connections between chemistry, physics and biology such as tumor growth, HIV/AIDS, immunology, dental services, orthopedics and environmental science.

The building is designed to increase collaboration between scientists, and encourage greater sharing of technology and development of novel, highly fundable research that would provide a considerable edge over isolated work groups. The facility will contain state-of-the-art laboratories for chemical scientists and other researchers who will benefit from contiguous space.

“The best investment a state can make is in education,” Quinn said. “Today’s announcement means more jobs, more innovation, and a stronger University of Illinois at Chicago that will support our students as they prepare to enter the 21st-century workforce.”

“This state-of-the-art facility will bring together top researchers who will pool their expertise to develop pioneering solutions to society’s most critical problems,” said University of Illinois President Robert Easter. “By working together, they will forge cutting-edge approaches that might never have surfaced working alone. On behalf of the university, I’m deeply grateful to Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly for their generous financial support of this critical investment in Illinois’ future.”

“On behalf of the entire UIC community, I express our gratitude to Gov. Quinn and the General Assembly for support of higher education and research — two foundations of a strong economy,” said UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

“This facility is more than a building,” Allen-Meares said. “It is the tangible commitment that UIC is serious about interdisciplinary innovative, cutting-edge research collaborations to expand our knowledge for and our contributions to the betterment of humankind. The new Advanced Chemical Technology Building represents the evolution of today’s premier university research institutions. It will be a beacon and a magnet for the best in class faculty. UIC is proud to be a leader in fostering and demonstrating the value of such collaborations.

“This effort clearly illustrates not only our commitment to the future of UIC, Chicago and Illinois, but with this investment we will open new doors of opportunity for students to gain exposure and study in state-of-the-art labs and under the highest-quality faculty and researchers,” Allen-Meares said.

Construction of the ACTB, to be located on Halsted Street north of Roosevelt Road and immediately south of UIC’s Science and Engineering South Building, will begin in FY14 and take approximately 30 months to complete. The project is expected to generate a total of nearly 300 construction, campus and support jobs. The estimated cost of the building is $104 million, with the university to pay for the costs not covered by the state.

Research activity in the building will include drug discovery and development, neuroscience, nanoscience, bioscience and materials science, and is expected to generate new commercialized technology, patent filings and startup companies, with substantial economic benefits to the city and state through job creation in biopharmaceuticals and other areas. The building also will enable UIC faculty to generate more competitive external research funding and intellectual products and understandings that hold special significance for UIC’s health science colleges.

“The new building will support our existing faculty and research and enable us to attract exceptional new faculty to UIC,” said Lon S. Kaufman, vice chancellor for academic affairs, provost, and professor of biological sciences. “Current and future researchers will thrive in an interdisciplinary environment that allows for contiguity of basic life science research between biochemists and chemical biologists, biophysicists and physical chemists, and neuroscientists and analytical chemists. There will also be multi-departmental groups working on laser dynamics and nanoscience.”

The General Assembly approved construction funding for the ACTB in FY03 and the design was approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in November 2004. But because of state budget constraints, the construction funds were never released until now.

The building will have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard of Silver or higher.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center.

[Images at http://newsphoto.lib.uic.edu/v/actb/.]