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Officials break ground on Physics and Nanotechnology Building

Cindy Cattell, Elizabeth Smith, Allen Goldman, Paul Crowell, Dean Steven Crouch, Ron Poling and Matthew Stringfellow break ground on the new building.
Alex Schumann

Officials from the Minnesota State Legislature and University broke ground on the Physics and Nanotechnology building at a ceremony on Wednesday, October 12th. Eric Kaler, President of the University of Minnesota, Linda Cohen, Chair of the Board of Regents, Susan Von Mosch, Interim Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Tom Sullivan, Provost of the University and Steven Crouch, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering joined representatives from the School of Physics and Astronomy in lifting the ceremonial shovel.

In a speech made before the groundbreaking, Dean Crouch said that he expected the building to make a significant impact on research and education. He noted the building's location on the corner of Beacon and Union Streets as being favorable because of it's visibility on the Scholar's Walk and called it "science on display."

The new building will house 200 research scientists and students and include about 40 new research laboratories. University President Eric Kaler said that the new building will help assure that the University remains a center of research for the state. Linda Cohen, Chair of the Board of Regents of the University said that the facility will raise the profile of the University in research communities and help grow partnerships with other universities and with industry. "It is a lot to ask from one building," she said, adding that it was the physicists and researchers who would of course help the building realize that potential.

Susan Von Mosch, Interim Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education said that the governor's support of the building grew out of a belief that it would play a key role in bringing high tech jobs to Minnesota. She said that it is estimated that 15% of all goods manufactured by 2014 will use nanotechnology.

Actual construction of the $83 million building will begin in November, 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by November, 2013.