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KU Awarded $12 Million for New Research Facility

Friday, January 8, 2010

The M2SEC Building funded in part through a $12 million grant from NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology Construction Grant Program today announced a $12.3 million federal award for construction of an innovative “green technologies” research facility for the University of Kansas School of Engineering.

NISTC officials said the grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will fund a proposed Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center (M2SEC), a 34,600 square-foot laboratory incorporating the latest in green technologies and additional research space for a variety of interdisciplinary engineering projects.  

“This grant will help solidify KU’s role as a leader in the engineering and advancement of innovative technologies, as well as in sustainable practices,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.  

The university must raise matching funds for the project, which will total $21.6 million.  The building, expected to be completed by spring 2012, will join a complex of engineering buildings on the southwest slope of the Mount Oread campus, west of Eaton Hall, south of Learned Hall and Spahr Engineering Library, and directly east of Burt Hall.

The building itself will be a model of sustainable, energy-saving technologies . It will use sunlight for interior illumination, solar shade and “green” roof technology for temperature control and a system to monitor the overall efficiency of building operations.  

The facility will include elements qualifying it for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certification under the rigorous Green Building Rating System devised by the U.S.  Green Building Council.  To receive LEED certification, a project must incorporate design features from site design through construction and operation that minimize the impact on the environment while enhancing overall building performance.   

The building will house research projects on the development of biofuels, remote sensing technologies used to monitor polar ice and glaciers, and development and testing laboratories for commercial avionics, sustainable materials and advanced research in materials fracture and fatigue. Laboratories will be equipped to monitor and assess how well various design and construction techniques meet standards and perform in the Kansas climate and using available forms of energy.

“In recent years, the School of Engineering has seen remarkable growth in our research and graduate programs,” said Stuart Bell, dean of engineering.  “Now, through this grant, we will have additional space to help us maintain our standards of excellence, as well as explore new dimensions in research.”

The building project was spearheaded through the efforts of Professor Glen Marotz, associate dean for research and graduate programs in the KU School of Engineering.

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