INL breaks ground on new research and development facilities
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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho National Laboratory in conjunction with the Idaho State Board of Education broke ground on two new research facilities Wednesday.
Elected officials and INL administrators were excited to announce the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center (C3) would be built on University Boulevard near other lab facilities.
“This is more than just about buildings. It’s about building a collaboration with the State of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory, that sees the state into the future, builds on the future of those young people going into science and research and allows our lab to continue to meet important national challenges,” INL spokeswoman Misty Benjamin told EastIdahoNews.com.
The Cybercore Integration Center will host advanced electronics labs so industry, government, and academia can work together to solve cybersecurity and physical security issues to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The Collaborative Computing Center will be a place where INL researchers, Idaho universities and industry can explore computer modeling and simulation to develop new nuclear materials, advanced nuclear energy concepts and conduct scientific research, according to a news release.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little said the facilities will bring many opportunities to the next generation of Idahoans.
“The rest of the state knows of all the good work that’s being done here,” Little said. “It’s been a great place for the state to invest in higher education.”
INL Director Mark Peters said the new facilities will help progress research and development into cybersecurity and computational science and engineering.
“We had emerging partnerships with universities in Idaho in these areas and we realized that we needed to have some great facility space to house that collaborative work, and also to train the next generation of students that are coming into the pipeline in these areas,” Peters told EastIdahoNews.com.
Peter’s said the facilities will present opportunities for university students to collaborate with lab researchers and potentially give them opportunities for employment in Idaho.
“We’re bringing new scientists and engineers into the workforce … also, the economic development that comes with constructing the buildings brings significant economic impact to the community and also the continued operations will be permanent jobs in the community,” Peters said.
Benjamin said the Idaho State Building Authority had the ability through the State Legislature to bond up to $90 million dollars for the facilities.
“The Idaho State Building Authority has a lease with the Idaho State Board of Education, which has a lease with the INL. The INL is subleasing, putting their dollars toward the Board of Education who is then paying those lease payments,” Benjamin said.
INL leaders and state representatives emphasized the two facilities would be an investment that would pay itself off.
What we’re working to do is pay these bonds which pay for education. We’re bringing in students, We’re bringing in collaboration and research. We’re allowing them to use the computer facilities and giving them access to do high-performance computing so there are multiple ways the collaboration actually pays itself back,” Benjamin said.
Construction on both buildings will begin in a few weeks and both buildings are expected to be complete in fall 2019.