February 12, 2004

New building will go up at SIUC Research Park

by Tom Woolf

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is poised to provide the region with another economic shot in the arm.

The SIU Board of Trustees today (Feb. 12) approved construction of a $2.8 million multi-tenant building at the Southern Illinois Research Park, located on the south side of the Carbondale campus.

The research park is home to SIUC's Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, which houses a variety of programs, including the Small Business Incubator, Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, SouthernTECH and the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development.

Plans call for the 19,920-square-foot, one-story facility to be built at the southwest corner of the research park, adjacent to the corner of U.S. Highway 51 and Pleasant Hill Road. Tenants will include graduates of the Small Business Incubator program and new and expanding knowledge-based companies. The building will offer office and testing space, including wet laboratory space, and will accommodate between 12 and 15 firms.

Construction will take between nine and 15 months.

Continued development of the research park and enhancing the region's economic development are among the goals of Southern at 150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

"This is a big step forward in terms of the expansion of high-tech and knowledge-based jobs at the research park," said Raymond C. Lenzi, associate vice chancellor for economic and regional development. "This will give us room to move some companies out of the incubator program and bring other companies into the new building. This will be very good for the economy of Southern Illinois."

The University will apply $450,000 previously awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development toward the cost of the project. Funds for the remaining $2.35 million in project costs will come from SIUC cash reserves and external and/or internal funding. Rents paid by building tenants will cover annual debt service costs.

The project requires Illinois Board of Higher Education approval, and University officials expect that board to review the plans in April.

In a related matter, the Board of Trustees today reappointed five members to two-year terms on the research park board, and approved a replacement for a board member who retired.

Reappointed are: Jeff Doherty, Carbondale city manager; John Linehan, executive director, Carbondale Business Development Corp.; Michael S. Kearney, Ameren Service Corp.; Joe Kessler, president of Old National Bank; and John Dosier, president and CEO, First Southern Bank. Dennis Harmon, customer service representative with Verizon Corp., replaces Pat Stearns, who resigned from the board due to her retirement from Verizon.