March 25-26, 2004

 

ITEM 122-2005-R0304††††††††††††††† Authorization to Construct a New Chemistry/ Biochemistry Research Laboratory Facility through a Sale of Bonds, to Which Federal Grant & Contracts F&A Revenues will be Pledged; Montana State University-Bozeman

 

THAT:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† In accordance with the provisions of MCA 18-2-102(c), the Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes MSU-Bozeman to construct on its campus a new Chemistry/Biochemistry Research Laboratory Facility through a sale of bonds, for up to $24,500,000, to which Federal grant & contracts F&A revenues will be pledged.

 

EXPLANATION:††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.†††††† The growth and success of Chemistry/Biochemistry research programs over the past 5 years has been extraordinary, reaching $4.6 million in grants and contracts expenditures in 2003.† The department also has one of the most nationally competitive doctoral programs at MSU.† Moreover, the department has been a leader in interdisciplinary education and research, and now has several new major opportunities for further growth and development.† Finally, Chemistry/Biochemistry has played a prominent role in engaging undergraduates in cutting edge research and scholarship.

 

2.††††† The Chemistry/Biochemistry program is currently housed in Gaines Hall.† A major renovation and expansion of Gaines Hall has been part of MSUís LRBP request since the 1980's, and has been the Universityís top LRBP priority since 2001.† During the past two Legislative Sessions, the Gaines Hall Project has been proposed as a split-funded (73% State) project.† However, the University has not received any funding for the project.† Due to its growing success with research grants, and its increasing commitment to provide both undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on research experience in the laboratory, MSU must expand its Chemistry/Biochemistry facilities in the very near future - for both research and laboratory-based instruction.† This facility will provide the needed expansion space for a significant segment of the Chemistry/Biochemistry research programs, which will also provide for a rich research laboratory experience for undergraduate and graduate students.

 

3.††††† MSU has considered the concept of utilizing another leased facility to accommodate this growing need for additional space.† However, MSU would prefer to utilize leased facilities only for ďsurge spaceĒ that accommodates programs which may not be permanent.† The Chemistry/Biochemistry program is an integral component of MSUís foundation of science programs.

 

4.††††† The opportunities MSU has for expanding its research with a new facility like this include: growth of the Center for Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials (a Regents authorized interdisciplinary research center); expanding its role in energy-related research and education; and expansion of its Ph.D. and M.S. programs, with a particular emphasis on biotechnology, proteomics, and materials.† If we do not expand our facilities for these programs in the near future, we are at great risk of losing current faculty who hold the greatest potential to contribute to economic development through their research programs; we will not be able to recruit additional entrepreneurial faculty; and we will experience significant lost opportunities to secure major external funding.

 

5.††††† Students will benefit enormously from a facility like this.† The research programs in chemistry and biochemistry require more space in order to enable greater student participation (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels) in research efforts.† Modern laboratory facilities will permit additional research opportunities to be made available.† In addition, new facilities will provide a safer, healthier environment to conduct research.

 

6.††††† The benefits for the community from expanded research revenues and additional tech transfer opportunities are anticipated to be substantial.† Research and graduate education in nanomaterials, biotechnology, energy, catalysis, protein structure, and synthesis (all of which will be featured in the facility) have proven to provide frequent opportunities for technology transfer and partnerships.† MSU has already entered partnerships with the private sector that involve University scientists who will be housed in this new facility.† These companies are expanding the number of high-tech jobs in Montana - jobs that build the economy and provide Montana-based opportunities for Montanans.† Other faculty who will be housed in this facility have also been involved in starting up new companies - and successes like this are certain to expand with access to updated and improved facilities.

 

7.†††††† Once this project is completed, the Gaines Hall instructional and research incubation space can (eventually) be enhanced through the major renovation of that facility, which remains as MSUís first priority for LRBP major construction projects.

 

8.††††† This project will be financed with the proceeds from a sale of new bonds, and the resulting debt service will be fully funded from a pledge of research Facilities & Administration (IDC) overheard funds from Federal grants & contracts.

 

9.††††† This Item provides MSU the authorization to proceed with the design and construction of this facility.† However, construction will not proceed until satisfactory funding, through the sale of bonds, has been secured.† This Item does not authorize the sale of bonds.† MSU must request that authorization from the Board of Regents at a future meeting.

 

10.†††† This project requires the authorization of the Board of Regents and the consent of the Governor.