A Team Effort11.22.2010 | President, Campus and Community
GE Aviation plans to build a new Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center (EPISCENTER) on about eight acres on the University of Dayton's campus on River Park Drive.
"This is the bold kind of economic development initiative that this region and our state need," University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran said to a large crowd assembled in the lobby of the 1700 South Patterson Building Monday afternoon.
Curran emphasized the critical role teamwork played in transforming an urban brownfield into what will eventually become a vibrant academic and mixed-use development.
"That was our vision when we bought the property five years ago, and it is starting to come to fruition today," he said. "But this location on our campus only became a competitive option when CityWide Development, the city of Dayton, Montgomery County, the state of Ohio, UD and GE Aviation collaborated on a workable plan."
"This is the wave of the future for leading research universities," he added, noting that it's rare for a global corporation like GE Aviation to build a multi-million-dollar research facility on a college campus. "The University of Dayton is at the front of this wave. This is a forward-thinking move."
Vic Bonneau, president, Electrical Power Systems for GE Aviation, said the opportunity for collaboration with the University of Dayton Research Institute combined with a Third Frontier grant up to $7.6 million and proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base played significant roles in his company's selection of the site.
"We toured 11 other possible sites in the Dayton area, but being next to the University of Dayton was what clinched it for us," Bonneau said. "The University's researchers will work with GE to develop and deploy cutting-edge computer modeling, simulation and analysis of advanced, dynamic electric power systems design and controls."
The proposed site of the $51 million research facility is located in the Ohio Aerospace Hub of Innovation, enabling GE Aviation to participate as an initial launch partner of the hub.
"We created the Ohio Hubs of Innovation and Opportunity program to recognize the unique strengths of our cities and help them do more of what they do best. And we began the hub program right here in Dayton because of the incomparable concentration of aerospace talent, facilities and resources from the government, academic and private sectors," said Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. "We pledged to work with each of our hubs to spur new economic development. And today, right here, we see exactly what that can produce."
The University will work with CityWide Development Corp. to build the facility to GE’s specifications. GE anticipates entering into a long-term lease agreement with the University of Dayton and CityWide following an environmental review and clearance. The 115,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2012 and operational by the end of 2012.
The center will be directed at several markets, including end-to-end electrical power starter/generation, conversion, distribution and load technologies for civil and military aerospace applications. The center will be a catalyst for new contracts and products, resulting in job growth at the EPISCENTER and at GE locations such as Vandalia.
The EPISCENTER will complement GE Aviation's new Electrical Power Integrated Center (EPIC) located in Cheltenham, UK, which will be fully operational by March 2011. Together, these two state-of-the-art research centers will augment GE Aviation's existing research-and-development capabilities, further enabling collaborative research and driving innovation.