LSU Celebrates Completion of Chemistry and Materials Building

10/11/2012 04:48 PM

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Colleges of Science and Engineering celebrated the completion of the Chemistry and Materials Building during a ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday, Oct. 11. This facility expands the university’s research capacity in synthetic chemistry and provides critical infrastructure for interdisciplinary research in materials science and engineering.


“The state has invested in LSU with the responsibility to be an academic, research and economic leader, and we are committed to excellence in those areas,” said LSU Interim System President and Interim Chancellor William Jenkins. “With this state-of-the-art facility, LSU will be able to recruit great faculty and students.”


The new Chemistry and Materials Building will allow LSU students, faculty and staff to be more competitive in obtaining research funding and grants. Last year alone, LSU won more than $142 million in new grants and contracts, with 23 percent of those coming from the College of Science.


“Research grants, plus patents and technology transfer, will allow LSU to increase its $1.2 billion economic impact on the state,” Jenkins said. “This is more than just LSU’s competitiveness, this is all about America’s global competitiveness, and, as you can see, this is much more than just a building.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with LSU administrators and faculty and student representatives, officially cut the ribbon on the Chemistry and Materials Science Building. The Jindal administration invested nearly $34 million to build the new facility.


“This 85,000 square-foot facility will expand the university’s research capacity in synthetic chemistry and provide critical facilities for research in materials science and engineering,” Jindal said. “This new facility will provide a world-class learning and teaching environment that will draw students, faculty and researchers from Louisiana and around the world. Indeed, research conducted in this new facility will have real-world applications in our state and will be applied to manufacturing techniques, healthcare and energy production.


“This new facility will play a critical role in helping our chemical and engineering students get the world-class skills they need to find great jobs. That in turn will make Louisiana even more attractive to companies looking to invest, expand and create jobs here in Louisiana.”


The five-story, state-of-the-art facility, provides more than 85,000 gross square feet of research laboratory space and support facilities. Research space for the Department of Chemistry will be increased by 50 percent.


“This is an exciting time for both the College of Science and for LSU,” said Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Science. “This facility will substantially advance our mission as a major research university, and I am particularly pleased that it will support LSU’s growing interdisciplinary strength in materials science and engineering.”


During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Carman recognized all of the people involved in the planning and the ultimate construction of the new facility, including the important collaboration between the College of Science and the College of Engineering to be able to share the research space.


“I’m confident that this new building will allow us to achieve even greater research accomplishments, which will in turn further stimulate the economy of Louisiana,” Carman said.


Research conducted in this new facility will have significant economic implications for applications in manufacturing techniques, healthcare and energy production. Louisiana’s chemical industry employs more than 30,000 and generates almost $1 billion annually in tax revenues.


“Support for this multi-user facility evidences the growing importance of interdisciplinary research on LSU’s campus,” said Rick Koubek, dean of the LSU College of Engineering. “Faculty members from science and engineering working collaboratively in this building holds promise for important discoveries in advanced materials.”


The first floor of the building, dedicated to a materials-characterization facility, will provide a centralized resource for electron microscopes and other sophisticated instruments. The second through fourth floors house laboratories specifically designed for synthetic chemistry and materials science, as well as faculty and staff offices and instrumentation rooms. The fifth floor will contain clean rooms for microfabrication and four additional labs specifically designated for collaborative interdisciplinary research programs.


“The world’s greatest discoveries are the realizations of daring dreams,” Koubek said. “Here at LSU, our faculty dream big, and they dream big for Louisiana. Every day, LSU faculty work together to solve Louisiana’s great scientific and engineering challenges to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for our citizens.”


The building has 140 work areas for faculty and will also feature two multipurpose laboratories that will be used for general holding instruments and faculty research. Six large six-person synthetic labs will occupy the center of the building and feature shared student office space in front of each lab.


“LSU has already made substantial investments in attracting outstanding faculty, and this building will help those scholars and their students realize their full potential,” Carman said.


New Orleans architectural firm Lyons & Hudson completed the primary building design with scientific lab expertise provided by Karlsberger Inc. The state of Louisiana provided funding for the building, enough to erect the structure and complete the first four floors. The fifth floor will be completed in 2013.


“As an artist expresses creativity with a brush and canvas, our faculty need laboratories, clean rooms and synchrotrons to create revolutionary scientific advances,” Koubek said. “The newly constructed Chemistry and Materials Building provides us that pallet, in which our faculty can embark on joint ventures to visualize and realize the bold dreams of those daring to push the boundaries of discovery.”

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012