Louisiana Tech Unveils Plans For Expansive Research Park
Louisiana Tech University officials announced Thursday their preferred location for a long-awaited $25 million research park.
Out of 13 possible sites, the university has allocated property just across from Bogard Hall as a starting point for the newly renamed "Enterprise Campus."
President Dan Reneau said officials hope to eventually extend the research campus all the way to downtown Ruston, encompassing up to 50 acres.
Enterprise Campus will be home to companies anxious to affiliate with Tech's expanded research in cyberspace and nanotechnology, as well as biomedical engineering and
Those kind of companies desire close proximity to the university, Reneau said, as he showed a rendering of the future campus.
"We're off and running if we can get the right property," he said.
The next step in the process — acquiring the land — will be up to Louisiana's Office of Facilities Planning, he said.
Reneau spoke of the "symbiotic relationship" between the university and the city of Ruston.
Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth, enthusiastically endorsing the project, was present for the announcement.
"If we are able over 15 or so years to carry out what we think we can, we will have one of the greatest economic developments north Louisiana has ever seen," Reneau said.
The planned campus, as designed by Ruston architect Mike Walpole, is bound by College and Monroe streets, extending northward to the railroad tracks and south to California Avenue.
Reneau said officials are "well into" the design of the first research and development building, at a cost of roughly $13 million.
The expansion includes plans for two to three more buildings over the next few years, he said.
Ground should be broken on the first building by July 2009 and will house companies that have grown out of Tech's two business incubators.
"We have companies ready to move. It's our intention to keep them here," Reneau said.
Reneau added that the research campus is part of a $100 million expansion already happening at Tech, and he commended his vice presidents for helping with those projects.
With the expansion, the university could capitalize on the big market demand for intellectual property, Reneau said.
"We are in an era when the most important developments will come out of the human mind," he said.
Legislators appropriated the $25 million for a research park near Tech in last year's legislative session. They re-approved the expenditure this year.
Tech was ranked 10th nationally by Small Times magazine in commercialization of technology this year and third in microtechnology and nanotechnology education in 2006.