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This item originally appeared in the January 21, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.


News Editor

After a year and a half of planning, bids will be taken Feb. 10 to select a contractor for the construction of the new biomedical engineering building.

Jerry Drewett, the vice president for administrative services, said bids will be opened in Baton Rouge.

"The design has been completed and contractors will come up with plans and submit a bid," Drewett said.

Drewett said the state initially provided $6.6 million for construction, but the team working on designing came to find out the amount was not enough to build the total square feet they had in mind.

"We raised more funds [from donations], and then we asked the state to raise the budget," Drewett said.

"We had to go through a process of getting approval [for more money]," Drewett said.

"But it's pretty clear to the state the value of biomedical engineering to economic development in Louisiana, so it wasn't hard to get approval.

"It will be a tremendous teaching facility, a major research facility."

The funds provided for the 52,000- square-foot building total to around $8.5 million.

"About $7.2 million is going to construction, and $1.3 million will go for contingencies and architect fees," Drewett said.

Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau, who founded the biomedical engineering program at Tech in 1972, said there are many reasons that the future building, to be constructed in between the Institute for Micromanufacturing and Davison Hall, is significant to the university.

"This will be the most complex building constructed on the Louisiana Tech campus," Reneau said. "It's extremely important and very timely."

Reneau said the entire campus will benefit from the new facility.

"[Many] will be able to participate in the research and education," Reneau said. "It will prepare well-trained individuals for the future work force."

Dr. Stan Napper, the dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said there is no answer yet as to when the building will be completed.

"After a contractor is selected, we will negotiate the start date and duration of construction," Napper said.

"Of course the sooner the better, but hopefully we will know after the contractor is picked."

Napper said the building will have a "Collaboration Alley" walk-way leading to the IfM building, which will promote teamwork between students and faculty in both facilities.

Leslie Fuerschbach, a senior biomedical engineering major, said she believes the facility will be beneficial to students once it is done, though she will graduate before its completion.

"I've seen the plans and heard presentations on it, and I think it's going to be a great thing," Fuerschbach said. "I wish I was going to be here for it."

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