University of Dayton groundbreaking ceremony for a $51 million GE Aviation research-and-development center

GE Aviation, University of Dayton, state and local officials took part in a blessing and groundbreaking ceremony today for a $51 million research-and-development center on campus.

Nearly 200 people turned out for what may be the largest groundbreaking in school history.

The mood was celebratory: "We think the best way to predict the future is to create it," said emcee Mickey McCabe, vice president for research at the University of Dayton. "That's what we're doing today."

It is the first major construction project on a 50-acre parcel of largely vacant land the University purchased from NCR in 2005 and remediated for redevelopment.

"The University of Dayton took a big bet in purchasing this abandoned NCR property several years ago, having the vision of future technology business growth, and proactively working for five years to make this land shovel ready," said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems. "Their vision is becoming reality today."

Called an Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center (EPISCENTER), the facility will be built on eight acres on River Park Drive. It will serve as the southern anchor to the Ohio Aerospace Hub of Innovation and Opportunity. The four-story facility will include a 40,000-square-foot office building connected to an 80,000-square-foot world-class electrical research center. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2012.

"This location and future facility will aid each of us in attracting high-caliber engineering talent.  What college student wouldn't want to work here? Our researchers will be within walking distance of the University of Dayton Research Institute staff, seven miles from Wright Patterson Air Force Base and a 30-minute drive from several GE Aviation businesses in the Dayton and Cincinnati region," Bolsinger said.

Daniel J. Curran, president of the University of Dayton, called the project a symbol of Dayton's rebirth and a "wonderful collaboration" between a private research university and a giant corporation.

"Ultimately, the University of Dayton, in partnership with GE Aviation, may develop new academic programs in high-tech fields, such as advanced electrical power systems. The future possibilities are limited only by our imagination," he said.

"This is an extraordinary partnership."

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