272 acre STAR campus to house security, energy and health sciences programs
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 17:09
In 2009, the university purchased a 272-acre site located near South Campus. The site, which was previously occupied by the Chrysler Assembly Plant, has come to be known as the university’s Science, Technology & Advanced Research (STAR) campus. The goal of STAR campus is to attract researchers as well as other corporate partners to develop on the site, with the project timeline spanning up to 30 years, according to Andy Lubin, director of real estate for the university.
The STAR campus is set to fulfill three research goals through attracting corporate partners. The three major areas that will be focused on are: national and cyber security; alternative and renewable energy; and health sciences and biomechanics. By attracting corporate partners within these fields, Lubin said he hopes these companies will become available to students through research and internship opportunities.
The ultimate goal of the campus, Lubin said, is to “create a community of active research and corporate businesses that will create jobs, create economic growth in this area, for the benefit of the university, the state of Delaware and for this region.”
However, Lubin said STAR campus is not necessarily an addition to the university’s main campus.
“Recognize that this is not an extension of the undergraduate campus,” Lubin said. “This is the ability to expand the research capacity of the university.”
Economics of STAR Campus
University funds originally funded the acquisition of the site formerly occupied by Chrysler, Lubin said.
The 1743 Holdings LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the university, is the official owner of STAR campus, and generated profits from the sale of commodities as the buildings were being taken down.
“Through grants, and the through the use of the funds, we operate the site,” Lubin said. “Our goal, through ground-rent leases, is to generate sufficient income to maintain the site.”
Lubin said the STAR campus could bring 12,000-15,000 jobs to the area, mostly from technology, research and high-level manufacturing.
Health Sciences Complex
The Health Sciences Complex, phase one of STAR Campus, is set to be completed in December, according to Lubin. Though the complex will house academic facilities, the complex will also be home to corporate partners such as Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health and LabCorp. The building will be open in February at the start of spring semester and will feature a variety of academic programs in nurse management, physical therapy and kinestheology.
“Students who are taking classes in these areas will have the opportunity to intern or do clinical work with these corporate partners,” Lubin said. “That integration––that collision––between the academic world and business world will be happening in a building that will hopefully have very beneficial results.”
One building of the complex will be strictly academic rooms, while the other building will be available to corporate partners.
Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is the first corporate partner of STAR campus to be active on campus. Bloom Energy, which occupies 50 acres of the campus, is a solid oxide fuel company that is working with research activity on campus. The company came to campus through the Delaware Economic Development Office, Lubin said.
“The long-term benefit of Bloom Energy would be to replace natural gas with biofuels to make a true, renewable energy opportunity,” Lubin said.
Data Centers LLC
STAR Campus was chosen as the home for Data Centers LLC because of the huge amount of fiberoptic activity along the rail and its proximity to Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston. Data Centers LLC will be powered by its own natural gas power plant.
The computer sciences division at the university will be working with Data Centers LLC, Lubin said, thus fulfilling the 3+1 strategy of bringing cyber security research to campus. It could also act as a magnet, attracting other companies that wish to take advantage of the center’s server capacities, he said.