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Foundation Magazine


Layton Breaks Ground on New USTAR Research Center at the University of Utah

April 22, 2009

Layton Construction broke ground on a new state-of-the-art research center for the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Initiative at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 22, 2009. Layton will complete the project along with Lord Aeck Sargent Architecture, who was selected as the architectural and engineering firm and design team lead, with local collaboration from Prescott Muir. The new research center has officially been named "The James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building - A USTAR Innovation Center" in recognition of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation's large donation and cornerstone gift of $15 million toward the building's construction. The 200,000-square-foot James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building - A USTAR Innovation Center will support 25 senior faculty researchers as well as junior faculty and contain laboratory space, faculty office space, core facilities, conference and symposium space and public areas that are designed to encourage the maximum amount of interaction possible between faculty from diverse disciplines within the scientific community. Assignable research and support space has been designed with great flexibility and adaptability to accommodate future occupants. The facility will include a state of the art nanofabrication facility as well as core laboratories for optical and small animal imaging.

The building will anchor a new research complex made up of four interconnected buildings--essentially an 800,000-square-foot interdisciplinary quad located between the University's lower and upper campus, acting as a central unifier between the work in the College of Engineering and the U's Health Sciences and Medical School. The research complex is envisioned to eventually include biotechnology laboratories, a data center, nanofabrication, neuroscience laboratories, optical imaging, small animal imaging and a vivarium.

The USTAR facility has been designed and will be constructed with the goal of achieving a LEEDĀ® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building CouncilĀ®. The facility will set a high standard for sustainable design--the building will be energy efficient and reduce both energy use and energy costs from current laboratory code requirements by a minimum of 40 percent. "Green" features that will be included in the design and construction of the facility include daylighting techniques to allow as much natural light into the building as possible (reaching at least 75 percent of the building's occupied spaces) as well as the use of sunshades to adjust the quality and intensity of the light that enters the building at different times and different angles throughout the year.

The project is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2010.

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Click for fly-through animation of USTAR (This redirects you to another website)