By Sean Sears, Ames Tribune Staff Writer
A large number of government and Iowa State University officials celebrated the grand opening of the new Economic Development Core Facility Thursday during a ceremony at the ISU Research Park. The 49,210 square-foot-facility will act as a “one-stop shop” for not only ISU’s economic enterprises, but also state, national and global economies.
The new $12 million facility, funded by state appropriations, will be the new home to the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations, the Center for Industrial Research and Service, the Iowa Small Business Development Center, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, ISU’s Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, the Iowa State Research Foundation and Cultivation Corridor regional economic development project.
“(Iowa State) is a place where relationships begin and grow,” Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds told those attending the ceremony. “Between executives and entrepreneurs, between researchers and students, and the public and private sectors.”
Those in attendance said the building’s design, with makeshift wood doors that open and close with pulley systems, with an all-glass outside and modern style, should draw people’s attention into a future that was extremely bright after the long process of lobbying for the facility.
ISU President Steven Leath called it an “exciting day” as his and the university’s vision of this new facility were finally coming true.
“Today, we’re celebrating the tremendous potential of economic growth and development all across Iowa,” Leath said. “And Iowa State is vital part of that growth moving forward.”
The growth Leath referred to is the predicted 1.8 million square feet of development that should create roughly 6,000 jobs with a combined salaries totaling more than $174 million. According to Leath, all of those projections are a direct result of the university’s ability to make strong partnerships to ensure the future of this budding area of Ames.
Another key player in getting this deal done was Michael Crum, ISU’s vice president of economic development and industry relations, who did not stop smiling during the duration of the event.
“This is not only going to be exceptional work space,” Crum said. “But it’s going to make us so much more easily accessible. “
Crum also spoke about the facility’s large amount of space for collaboration, not only for all the different groups in the building, but also for its supporters.
“All of the companies out here, the university, all our external stake holders, will have access to meeting rooms and collaboration space. We want you all out here at this beautiful new facility.”