The Auburn University Research and Innovation Center is the newest addition to the Auburn Research Park. Since it opened on Sept. 15, the new center has been a great tool for students and faculty to come together to work, learn and grow, said Bill Dean, executive director of the Auburn University Research and Technology Foundation.
“The park’s Research and Innovation Center brings first-class minds to a first-class facility,” Dean said. “Designed to promote creative collisions between and among talented faculty, students and knowledge-based businesses, the Research and Innovation Center is a true convergence zone. These are spaces that bring people together to ignite innovation.”
The new center broke ground in spring 2019 and was under construction for 17 months. It is one of seven buildings that make up the research park, including East Alabama Medical Center’s Health Sciences Center, which is currently under construction.
“We’re excited about it,” Dean said. “Every time we open up a new building in the park it’s exciting, and it brings more people to the park. Being a student at Auburn University and having this resource in your backyard, I have to say I am very envious.”
The new center is a five-story, 105,877-square foot building featuring office and accelerator space, an event center and an Amsterdam Cafe.
Occupants include Auburn University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Fullstream LLC and 540 at the Park, a state of the art event space with a ballroom and boardroom, Dean said.
To Dean, the most important thing about a research park is not the structure of the buildings, but the environment of the park as a whole.
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“We have a great outdoor patio area,” Dean said. “We’re also implementing a new outside seating space … we want to have that as a model for other parks around the country. It’s all built around developing an environment.”
The research park is built to have a particular environment that allows students, faculty and all visitors of the park to feel comfortable both indoors and outdoors.
“As much as the infrastructure is important — and it’s a beautiful infrastructure — building the correct environment that is specific to Auburn University’s research is something we want to optimize,” Dean said.
What makes a research park successful is people, Dean said. The research park is designed to be an inclusive environment where anyone can come and “live, work, learn and discover,” Dean said.
“It took a team to [build this park], and I’m excited about the team that I have working with me to help build the appropriate environment and infrastructure for this,” Dean said. “I’m excited about the opportunities that we are building and shaping ... to build a very special place. The bottom line is that we are in the people business, and we support that and want to build the right place for that.”
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